Friday, March 1 marked not only the beginning of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month but also the first Prevent Cancer Super ColonTM stop of 2013 in one of the most famous places in the world – Times Square! Amidst all the bright neon signs and hustle and bustle of New Yorkers and travelers, stood the 20-foot-long and 8-foot-tall giant, interactive colon educational exhibit at the NASDAQ MarketSite.
The Prevent Cancer Super Colon was invited to be a part of Fight Colorectal Cancer’s (FCC) One Million Strong, an event spotlighting colorectal cancer awareness and prevention and encouraging everyone to celebrate the more than one million survivors of the disease in the U.S. The event included lots of fun, health-related activities that attracted many on-lookers to come find out what colorectal cancer and screening was all about. From sun up to sun down, the day was filled with dance parties, free yoga sessions, an acrobatic yoga demonstration, colon health educational materials, celebrity appearances, a “strong-man” competition and the sharing of many heartfelt survivor stories. The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s President and Founder Carolyn (“Bo”) Aldigé spoke in the opening ceremony about the importance of detecting polyps and colon cancer early and reminded the audience that the disease is preventable, treatable and beatable. Our Prevent Cancer Super Colon became one of the day’s most sought out attractions, showing the hundreds of participants and volunteers the importance of colorectal cancer screening.
This party for colon cancer prevention attracted people of all ages and walks of life to the Prevent Cancer Super Colon. We were able to give a tour of our three-dimensional super colon, show visitors what colon cancer and related disorders look like and provide them with fun, educational materials, such as Elvis magnets and Buddy Bracelets that each included vital screening information. I was amazed by how many people wanted to take our Buddy Bracelets to share with their family, friends and co-workers, in order to share the message about colorectal cancer screening guidelines (what a thoughtful way to show someone you care!). But many took them for themselves, commenting that the bracelet would serve as a helpful reminder to make an appointment for colon cancer screening soon.
This was my first Prevent Cancer Super Colon stop and even though I had studied my colorectal cancer and colon health facts, I ended up learning just as much, and maybe more, from our visitors, as they learned from me. Our morning visitors included a family from France that has an aunt with colorectal cancer, who also travels with a colon cancer educational exhibit similar to ours! It was interesting to learn the awareness activities for colon cancer happening in France. Their story reminded me that cancer has no boundaries and it’s a world-wide burden for so many individuals and families. People from all over the world shared their stories about the colon cancer screening process, having a family risk of colorectal cancer and how losing a loved one to cancer motivated them to get their colorectal screenings.
As the sun started to set and the neon lights grew brighter, we could feel the enthusiasm building for the One Million Strong finale! The final events of the day included a pumped up dance party, recognition of colorectal cancer survivors on stage and an appearance by Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, the current Middleweight Champion of the World, who did not leave without getting his Buddy Bracelet and a tour of the Prevent Cancer Super Colon! Quillin took pictures with survivors in front of the Prevent Cancer Super Colon and shared a message of “Let’s knock out colorectal cancer.”
Just as this remarkable day was coming to an end, the Prevent Cancer Foundation was featured on the NASDAQ board communicating our vision to all those watching in Times Square: Stop Cancer Before it Starts!
The Prevent Cancer Foundation is very thankful to our friends at FCC and Bayer, the event sponsor, for inviting us to be a part of this truly inspiring day full of exciting moments and eager supporters all promoting better prevention, diagnosis, patient care and treatment of colorectal cancer.