By Jennifer Butler
If you had the ability to prevent more than 50,000 deaths a year, would you do it? If so, join us on May 22nd at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY for the 13th Annual Colon Cancer Challenge.
The Colon Cancer Challenge is a unique opportunity for survivors, caregivers and loved ones to honor and celebrate the individuals in their lives who have fought bravely against the this devastating cancer killer. By coming together to walk, run, and cheer we are able to raise awareness of this deadly but largely preventable disease and expand the network of support and dedication for our those affected by the disease.
This family-oriented event consists of a Remembrance and Prevention Walk, a 4-mile Mixed Terrain Fun Run, a Kids Fun Run for children under 12, entertainment and a wellness festival. The top male and female finishers will receive trophies while each Kids Fun Run finisher will receive a medal. All participants will receive a commemorative t-shirts and refreshments.
Survivors are invited to participate in a special Survivor Ceremony and our annual photo prior to the start of the walk, and will also have access to a V.I.P. tent.
The Challenge was New York’s first public colorectal cancer awareness event, founded in 2004 by world-renowned colorectal cancer surgeon and researcher – and longtime Chappaqua resident – Dr. Thomas Weber. “When I started the Colon Cancer Challenge 13 years ago, I could only hope that it would grow as large as it is now. It’s amazing how many people join us every year to raise awareness of New York State’s second leading cancer killer,” he says.
“We are so excited to be back at Manhattanville College this year,” says Cindy Borassi, CCCF Executive Director. “No matter what distance they walk or run, every step our community members take reminds us that this disease is largely preventable with early detection and by incorporating a healthy diet and exercise into your lifestyle.”
Challenge participant Beth Beckmann lost her husband John to colon cancer in 2004, just a few months after the first Colon Cancer Challenge. “Seeing the support pour in for John through donations to our daughter’s Challenge team brought great joy to us all in the final months of John’s life,” Beth says. “I continue to participate in Challenge events and support CCCF in memory of John and also in the hope that fewer and fewer families will have a story like ours.”
Despite the progress we have made over the last decade in reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer in those over 50, early age onset cases of colorectal cancer have been dramatically increasing every year, even affecting those in their early twenties. By funding research into this terrifying trend and offering support to survivors and their families, CCCF is at the forefront of the fight against early age onset colorectal cancer.
Challenge participant Samantha Frazier was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer at age 24. Now 27 and cancer-free, Samantha, along with her team of family and friends, believes the Challenge is a way to spread the critical message of awareness and prevention while celebrating survivorship. She says, “I want others to know that they can live too and celebrate their glory as a warrior forever!”
When Samantha took to the stage for the Survivor Ceremony at last year’s Westchester Colon Cancer Challenge, a hush fell over the crowd. Her youthful presence was a reminder that this disease does not discriminate. And her sweet smile and courageous spirit were a reminder that this disease can – and will – be defeated.
Last year more than 3,500 people participated in Colon Cancer Challenge events, raising nearly $750,000. This year CCCF hopes to reach its goal of $1 million to continue its lifesaving public awareness, screening and prevention programs for the underserved and uninsured, as well as research focused on early age onset of colorectal cancer.
To get involved, call 914.305.6674 or visit events.coloncacnerchallenge.org.