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Nurse raises awareness on colon cancer

La Grange – An Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital nurse manager organized a colorectal cancer fundraiser that brought in $30,000 for the Colon Cancer Coalition.

 Approximately 700 people took part in the April 25 5k run/walk/kids fun run in Chicago, said organizer Candice Washilewski, RN BSN, manager of the GI lab/endoscopy. The theme for this event was, “Get your rear in gear.”

“I have been an endoscopy nurse for 16 years and wanted to take it a step further by spreading the word regarding the importance of colon cancer screening,” said Washilewski, a Dyer, Ind., resident.

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing nearly 56,000 people each year. Many of those deaths could be prevented with early detection.

“It touched my heart to see all those that either had colon cancer, or lost a loved one due to colon cancer come together for such a great cause,” said Washilewski. “They shared their stories with me and were very thankful of the initiative to spread the word in our communities.”

One such story is of a man who lost his 43-year-old wife/ high school sweetheart to colon cancer in January. The duo had two sons. Ironically, their wedding anniversary fell on the day of the event, but none the less the man, their two sons, and several family members came out to participate.

Next year’s kid’s fun run will be dedicated to his wife’s honor. For more information on colon cancer, or to donate money to further colon cancer awareness, call (952) 426-6521, or visit www.coloncancercoalition.org.