January 27, 2014
Boxers and Briefs Take Over Tampa Streets
Determined Daughter Fights to Bring Colon Cancer Race to Tampa
(January 27, 2014) Tampa, FL – Jocelyn Rodriguez was left searching for answers and support when her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006. So she did what most people do: turned to the Internet to find out what her mother’s options were. That’s where she discovered how preventable colon cancer is with proper screening and how treatable it is when caught early. With a new mission to spread awareness, Jocelyn connected with the Colon Cancer Alliance. She was determined to bring their Undy 5000 5K Run/Walkto the Tampa area to get the word out about this silent killer. Her persistence paid off, and in 2013 Tampa hosted its first Undy 5000.
“The Undy 5000 was my way of not letting cancer win. No matter what happened – treatment, doctor visits, stress– I knew that if I could just keep one person from having to go through what me and my mom were, that it would all be worth it,” says Jocelyn.
In Tampa, colon cancer has had a bigger impact than some may realize; there were 1,144 diagnoses and 448 colon cancer deaths in 2013. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. More than 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2014, and more than 50,000 will die from this disease.
Today, Jocelyn’s mom is doing well and staying healthy thanks to support from her friends, family and the services offered by the Colon Cancer Alliance. Like the Rodriguez Family, thousands of people turn to this organization’s Patient Support services each year in their time of need. The Colon Cancer Alliance’s Helpline has provided compassionate and knowledgeable assistance to 30,000 callers in the past three years, and their Buddy Program has more than 300 mentor Buddies that give peer-to-peer support to thousands of patients, survivors and caregivers.
“Every dollar raised and every person who crosses the finish line at the Tampa Undy 5000 makes an impact in the fight against colon cancer, and this event wouldn’t be here without Jocelyn’s bright spirit and determination,” said Todd Setter, National Director of the Undy 5000 Series.
This year’s Tampa Undy 5000 supports both local and national efforts. Locally, funds will support the University of South Florida BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, a student-run, free clinic serving medically underinsured Tampa residents with free colonoscopies. Funds also support the Colon Cancer Alliance’s national prevention, research and patient support initiatives, like the services Jocelyn and her mom leaned on after receiving their diagnosis.
The 2014 Tampa Undy 5000 is Saturday, February 8th at 9:00 a.m. Participants will be running and walking in Al Lopez Park wearing their family-friendly, underwear-themed outfits. For more information or to register, visit www.undy5000.org and click on Tampa, FL.
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The Colon Cancer Alliance’s mission is to knock colon cancer out of the top three cancer killers. We are doing this by championing prevention, funding cutting-edge research and providing the highest quality patient support services. Read more information about the Colon Cancer Alliance at www.ccalliance.org.