Run Benefits Colon Cancer Charity

Posted March 21, 2007 at 3:38pm

When it comes to fighting colon cancer, activists say the best option is to scope it out, and a Saturday event is planned to do just that.

For the third year in a row, the Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness, hosted by the Charles A. Kraenzle Colon Cancer Foundation, will be held at West Potomac Park beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The race is chaired by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), the chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, and was founded by Charlotte Kraenzle, who lost her father to the disease in 2002. Kraenzle decided to create the foundation in October 2004, and the race in March 2005, to raise awareness about prevention of the disease because, as she said, “I think my father would be here if he had a colonoscopy at age 50.”

To date, the event has raised more than $95,000, benefiting a number of area institutions that treat patients affected by colon cancer. This year, Kraenzle expects more than 2,000 participants.

The funds are helping fight a disease that is “the second leading killer of cancers” and one that is particularly prevalent in the Washington area, according to John Marshall, chief of the division of hematology/oncology at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Marshall, who will be speaking at Saturday’s event, said the D.C. area boasts one of the highest rates for the disease in the country. While Marshall doesn’t have a concise reason for the high incidence rate in the area, he does emphasize the importance of colonoscopies.

“If we simply did colonoscopies, as we’re supposed to do them, we would dramatically reduce the incidence of colon cancer and increase the cure rate,” Marshall said.

Typically a disease associated with the middle-aged demographic of society, colon cancer can affect any person, regardless of age.

Jill Pasqualetto, who currently is coordinating the Local Voices Chapter for the Colon Cancer Alliance (ccalliance.org), became involved with the Scope It Out event after her 36-year-old sister, Karen, was diagnosed with the disease last year.

Despite feeling the disease was “one of those things … no one really talks about,” Pasqualetto soon began seeking out a support network and said the disease is “one of those things where you start talking about it and you realize that this cancer has affected a lot of people’s lives.”

The Scope It Out 5K is more than just a race. Besides providing food and musical entertainment in West Potomac Park, the event also will contain a variety of aids for gaining awareness about the disease, including a giant “Super Colon,” two tents of information, and a variety of representatives from the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation — beneficiaries from the funds raised by the event — who will be able to answer questions about the disease and colonoscopies.

Additional information on volunteer opportunities as well as online registration for the race (which can be completed through today), can be found at www.scopeitout5k.com.