LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- 2004 was a pivotal year for my family with the birth of our first son, Samuel, and the colon cancer diagnosis of my sister, Maria Jung.
Sam's beloved Aunt "ReRe" died in 2013, succumbing to what she called "this hideous disease."
2004 was also the year that the Colon Cancer Prevention Project was born in Louisville. The non-profit's mission is to eliminate preventable colon cancer death and suffering by increasing screening rates through education, advocacy, health systems improvement, and survivor support.
My sister, her husband, Wayne, and their three children, Chris, Lindsie and Lauren all embraced these goals in their own advocacy efforts which continue, today.
Read about Joe's live-tweeting colonoscopy to honor his sister's legacy
In that spirit and to honor Maria's wish that others would be spared or cured of colon cancer, I am proud to serve as the Honorary Chair of the 9th Walk Away from Colon Cancer & 5K Run on Saturday, August 23 at Iroquois Park. The race starts at 9 a.m. next to the amphitheater. It is the largest annual fundraiser for the Colon Cancer Prevention Project.
I will share Maria's story and welcome survivors to celebrate their own stories.
To register or for more information, click here.
So far, nearly 30 teams have signed up for the 5K.
I am appreciative that WHAS11 is the Premier Media Sponsor of this year's walk, and in the spirit of WHAS11's #dosomething movement, is backing that pledge on the air and online at WHAS11.com.
The 5K will feature a “healthy village” with more than a dozen businesses and organizations, and a KidZone with inflatables, face painting, games and more. The Giant Educational Colon, a 20-foot-long colon that has information on colon cancer risks, symptoms, and screening options, will also be on site. Honorary Posters will be set up around the course, and there will be a Survivors & Fighters tent.
Each year, colon cancer strikes about 143,000 people in the United States, and kills more than 51,000. This makes colon cancer the number one cancer killer among male and female non-smokers in the United States. Kentucky is in the top five worst states for both colon cancer incidence and mortality. Colon Cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and screening saves lives.
Since the Project was formed in 2004, Kentucky has gone from 49th of all 50 states for colon cancer screening to 32nd. Kentucky's incidence rate has dipped 16 percent. And Kentucky for the first time has funding for the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program, a program that enables low-income, uninsured residents to get screenings.
These efforts are working. You can be a part of the success at the Walk Away from Colon Cancer & 5K Run on Saturday, August 23 at Iroquois Park.