CBS 5 News anchor Sean McLaughlin emceed the run. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Saturday's Phoenix Undy 5000 attracted almost 1,300 runners motivated to raise awareness and encourage people to get screened for colon cancer.
"It's a brief run to raise awareness about colon cancer in family-appropriate underwear," said Kevin Bergesen with the Arizona Colon Cancer Alliance.
The Alliance said it's the disease nobody wants to discuss.
"People are literally dying from this 'disease of embarrassment.' They don't want to talk about it because it's a very private part of the body," added Bergesen.
Arizona loses 19 people a week to colorectal cancer. More people die from this disease in our state than they do in car crashes.
Valley resident Erin Dunsey lost her father to colon cancer. He was diagnosed at age 58 and passed away at 62.
"It's not an old man's disease like everyone thinks. There are more and more individuals under the age of 50, and even under the age of 40, who are diagnosed at later stages, and I think people should be aware of that," Dunsey said.
Despite only being in her mid-30s, Dunsey has already undergone two colonoscopies since the disease now runs in her family.
"I would say it's much easier going through a simple, 30-minute procedure than having chemotherapy," said Dunsey.
The toughest part was seeing a father and grandfather suffer, especially when the disease is curable if detected early.
"We have gone through pain, suffering, and to just want to get the word out to kind of minimize the sorrow that family members might feel from patients not getting early detection," said Dunsey's niece, Hailey Schultz.
"I was there when my father passed away, and being 39 weeks pregnant was very difficult. And I would not want anyone else to go through that," added Dunsey.
Organizers want to underscore that the Run, in its sixth year, is a family-friendly event. It's the second largest undie run of its kind in the nation, after St. Louis.
For more information about the Undy 5000 5k Run, CLICK HERE.
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