Last month, the Prevent Cancer Foundation participated in the Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen. The event is a fundraiser for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine. And while it raises funds for the Dempsey Center to provide services free of charge to patients and the community, the event also brings the community together through the Lifestyle Festival, walking, cycling, running, and a celebration of survivors, prevention and wellness. The Prevent Cancer Super Colon exhibit was prominently featured as part of the Health and Wellness exhibit, and many of the several thousand individuals that participated in the event stopped to make their way through the colon.
The reaction of the visitors to the colon is always different. Many of the younger visitors scrunch their nose and say “yuck.” Other young visitors think it is a moon bounce and run through it repeatedly. But I am always most touched by the adults who stop, pick up information about colon cancer prevention and screening, and take time to share their personal stories. I’ve heard from so many men and women whose lives have been saved because polyps were removed before they became cancer or because they were found in the early stages of cancer, enabling successful treatment. They talk about their own experiences with colonoscopy. “It was not nearly as bad as I thought” is a common phrase used, and visitors talk about how they encourage – sometimes insist – that their family and friends get screened.
We also spoke with thousands of visitors at our Breakaway from Cancer booth, and along with our partners, distributed hundreds of brochures on cancer prevention, information on how to become an advocate, and the resources available through the Breakaway from Cancer campaign partner organizations.
It was a beautiful weekend to promote health, wellness, philanthropy and disease education in a welcoming and friendly environment. Congratulations to the Lewiston/Auburn community and our friends at the Patrick Dempsey Center for Hope and Healing on another successful Dempsey Challenge!