Hemby Bridge church takes part in annual 5K to fight colon cancer
Two weeks before Kristi Moore died, she announced her goal was to run in a race to support cancer research. After their friend passed away, members of Mill Grove United Methodist Church picked up the cause, deciding they would take her place in the fundraiser.
“One thing led to another and a whole band of us just decided we would walk in her honor,” Maria Doby said. The 44-year-old, who has attended Mill Grove for 24 years, remembers when Moore first joined the church, seven years ago.
There’s a softball team here at the church that a lot of us play on,” Doby said. “When Kristi came for the first time, we started talking about softball and she said ‘oh yeah, I played’. She joined the church and later joined the team.”
To honor their friend, fellow church member and teammate, the group started recruiting volunteers to help walk Saturday, March 10, as part of the annual Get Your Rear in Gear 5k Run/Walk. The event is founded by the Colon Cancer Coalition, presented by Presbyterian’s Cancer Center and sponsored by Charlotte Gastroenterology.
The Charlotte 5K is part of a series of events nationwide. Last year, more than 1,760 people participated in the race, and officials expect this year’s race to top 2,000. Registration, including on race day, is $35 for adults and $15 for students 18 and younger.
Through the funds raised at the event, Get Your Rear in Gear works with participating practices to offer colon screenings to the uninsured and underinsured, finance the colon and rectal cancer support group within the Presbyterian Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center and provide financial assistance to colon cancer patients.
The race begins at 8:15 a.m. Saturday, March 10, beginning and ending in Charlotte’s Independence Park, with surrounding streets being reserved for the race. Awards will be given to the top three male and female winners, top fundraising teams (both individual and corporate) and the largest teams (both individual and corporate).
“Right now we have 30 (runners) and hope to have 50 by Saturday,” Doby said. “The majority (of volunteers) are from Mill Grove, but we’ve got some other people from the community as well.”
The group settled on “Kruisin’ for Kristi” as their name, due to Moore’s love of bike riding.
Prior to the race, a ½-mile Kids Fun Run for children 10 and younger, sponsored by Coca Cola, will take place at 8:05 a.m. For the first time since the Charlotte 5K started, a survivors’ tent will serve as a place for colon cancer survivors to receive special treats, including live entertainment and a massage courtesy of Presbyterian’s Strides to Strength.
“This (event) gives survivors a place to enjoy the event who may not be able to participate,” race founder and Matthews resident Sue Falco said.
Falco was diagnosed with Stage I colon cancer in 2008. Although she was able to have the cancer successfully removed through surgery, the cancer had still left its mark on her life. To show her support for the fight against colon cancer, Falco ran in a Raleigh Get Your Rear in Gear 5K in 2009. Soon after, she contacted the Colon Cancer Coalition about bringing the race to Charlotte.
Falco was originally told that she would not be able to pull it off, due to the fact that too many 5Ks already take place in the area. Despite being worried that they wouldn’t even see 500 participants, Falco and her planning board pressed forward as the event continued to gain momentum. When the race took place, more than 1,100 people participated.
“I actually couldn’t believe it, myself,” Falco said.
Colon cancer is the second most common form of cancer. In 2011, the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics reported 4,858 new cases of colon and rectal cancer. Of those cases, 1,663 were fatal. Mecklenburg and Union counties alone saw 462 new cases and 152 deaths.
“Colon cancer can be found early and diagnosed before it gets too aggressive,” Pam Gwaltney, GI navigator for Presbyterian Cancer Center, said. “The earlier we find it, the earlier we can get to it and treat it. It’s about standard care and early detection.”
To participate in the March 10 Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk, sign up online at http://getyourrearingear.com/events/list/2012/charlotte-nc-2012/.