October 17, 2011
Local Colon Cancer Survivor Helps Bring Undy 5000 5K Back to Atlanta Area
ATLANTA, GA (October 17, 2011) – In 2002, Dawn Gagliardi was constantly plagued with an upset stomach, discomfort, bloating and unimaginable pain. She attributed it to the stress of having lost her mother to lung cancer the past year, but after some time decided to see a primary care physician where, after explaining her symptoms, Dawn was told she had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). After four months of countless visits to the doctor and medications intended for IBS, nothing seemed to be working. Her physician decided to refer her to a gastroenterologist and was given a colonoscopy, just to make sure. Dawn was immediately diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer at just 31 years old in what was otherwise a healthy time in her life.
Dawn, a bubbly and happy woman, says that everyone told her cancer changes people. But she wasn’t going to have any of that. “I’ve always been this outgoing, friendly person. This has always been my personality, and if anything, it’s two-fold now!” Dawn said. “Keeping a positive attitude and living life to its fullest – that is the biggest part of what got me through.”
Now cancer free, Dawn is focusing much of her energy on bringing the Atlanta Undy 5000 – a 5K to fight colon cancer – back for the second consecutive year, by dropping off race literature to the medical community and promoting awareness about the event on Nov. 12. After going through years of surgeries (she likes to say it was lucky seven – seven surgeries in seven years!), Dawn says she just wanted to make sure colon cancer was a common topic of discussion.
This year’s Undy 5000 will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12, at Marietta Square. Participants are encouraged to run in their underwear to bring attention to that area – the one affected by colon cancer.
Dawn says last year’s Atlanta Undy 5000 was so much more successful than she ever dreamed it would have been. Her team, Blue is the Next Pink, actually came in first place in fundraising, and she also finished first in the survivors category in running the 5K. Dawn says she has no doubt this year’s event will be even bigger and better than last year’s, and she’s thrilled to be a part of it.
The Undy 5000 will be held in 12 cities across the country this year to educate the public about colon cancer, promote screenings and encourage people to talk about the disease. Instead of raceday T-shirts, all registered participants receive a commemorative pair of Undy 5000 boxers. It is a family-friendly event open to all ages, and in addition to the 5K, there is a 1-mile fun run. The Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA), the nation’s largest and oldest patient advocacy organization dedicated to ending the suffering caused by colon cancer, hosts the event. Event proceeds help fund the CCA’s patient support and public awareness programs.
Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of Dulcolax®* is the proud presenting sponsor of the 2011 Undy 5000 races. As the #1 doctor-recommended stimulant for constipation relief, Dulcolax ® reminds everyone over the age of 50 or with a family history of colon cancer, that a colonoscopy can save lives.
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The Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) is a community that provides hope and support to patients and their families, while saving lives through screening, access, awareness, advocacy and research.
To find out more about the Undy 5000, please visit www.undy5000.org