World Cancer Day

Monday, February 4, 2013 is World Cancer Day

Because many of us are or have been affected in some way by cancer, I would like to highlight two upcoming events that are raising money for colon cancer awareness and prevention, one is in Houston, Texas, and one is in NY.

SCOPE 5k.  First, the MD Anderson SCOPE 5K fun run will be held in downtown Houston on Saturday, March 23, 2013.  This is the 8th annual SCOPE 5K fun run, and my family and I will be participating for the second time.  This specific event is important to me for several reasons:

1)  The first reason is because last year’s SCOPE run was the last fun run I was able to participate in with my father.  Al Blackbird, affectionately known as “Poppy”, died last July after a four year fight with colon cancer.  Our family was always doing fitness activities, from as early as I can remember… Fun runs, triathlons, mud races; if it sounded fun and/or challenging, we were there.   Even three months before he passed away, my dad was still a part of them.  Shoot, he even did the Pike’s Peak Ascent Marathon when he was 61!  My hero.  🙂

2) The second reason I like the SCOPE 5k event is because Cathy Eng, MD, a world-renowned Colorectal Cancer Researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, heads it up. Dr. Eng is one of the top doctors in her field, and she was my dad’s oncologist, and Poppy adored her.  Now please don’t misunderstand; he didn’t always follow her directions to stay out of the sun and take his pain pills, but he adored her.  Poppy sent her e-mails almost weekly about his activities, his various exercise routines (invariably including of thousands of squats weekly among other items), and he would send her pictures of the lake where he lived, and the many things he was interested in.  Dr. Eng, to quote his words, “is the greatest”.  We even had shirts to show it (see below)!!

picture of Cathy Eng and Al Blackbird

Dr. Cathy Eng and Al Blackbird at the 2012 Scope 5k Fun Run

the Blackbirds

The Blackbirds (l-r): Drew, Kathryn, Al (Poppy), Steve Roman and Molly B. Roman, Barbara, Will, Maureen B. Chmelik, and Dr. Craig Hurwitz.

So, if you are near the Houston area and like to do fitness activities, sign up for a fun event and help raise funds for colon cancer prevention and education.  My family and I will be there to honor the memory of my dad.  If you see us (you’ll recognize the shirts!), please say hi…

Another event I would like to bring attention to is the Colon Cancer Challenge, a fundraising event in New York also to raise awareness and support for colorectal cancer research and prevention.  It will take place on April 7, 2013 in Central Park (a great place for any activity!).
“The Challenge not only helps spread the word about colorectal cancer, but it also helps raise funds for life-saving prevention and research programs to help eradicate the world of colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Thomas K. Weber, MD, FACS founder of the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation.  There are three different walks or runs: a 1.7-mile remembrance and prevention walk, a 9 mile race, or a shorter 4-mile run.  If this is in your area, or you want to travel for a good cause, sign up here:
In summary, cancer sucks.  There’s no real way to describe the devastation it causes.  But, if we can do our part by getting screened when appropriate (aka colonoscopy, mammogram, pap smear, etc.), eating healthy things including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, getting regular exercise, and making sure we get our fiber, we’ll be doing what we can to minimize our risk of developing colon cancer and other diseases.
Please let me know if you sign up for the SCOPE 5k.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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