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Dear editor:

Led by a strong pre-race registration and a crowd of on-site participants, Get Your Rear in Gear Arkansas, presented by CHI St. Vincent, was a resounding success. On Saturday, March 12, 2016, local event director Nikol Hamilton and the group of over 30 dedicated volunteers put on an event to be remembered in Hot Springs for the 184 runners and walkers. The event raised approximately $18,000 for colon cancer screening and awareness programs in Arkansas. An eligible grant application is forthcoming and will be announced this summer.

In spite of being forced inside by the heavy rains in early March, 2.5-mile Family Adventure Walk featured some not-to-beforgotten moments, including a giant inflatable colon in the middle of the gym floor, a lyrical dance by Diamond Dance Co. as a tribute to colon cancer survivors and others lost to this disease, and stations to learn about colon cancer screening and prevention. A huge thank you is owed to the Hot Springs YMCA for accommodating this event at the last minute.

Get Your Rear in Gear Arkansas also enjoyed a great amount of team support. The largest team was Jessica's CA CA Warriors with 26 members, celebrating Jessica Flanigin West. Shannon's Booty Crew raised the most funds. The largest individual fundraiser was Frankie Melendez, a member of the team Frankie's Poo Fighters. The most creative team was Debby Terry's Infinity Warriors. CHI St. Vincent Media Team and B.J. Arnold with OtterBeenThereStudios were the official photographers for the event. All photos can be found here: http://coloncancercoalition.org/Arkansas.

Thanks to the support of local sponsors, including presenting sponsor CHI St. Vincent, with Arkansas Gastroenterology, Genentech, Little Ceasars, TAV Health, Cologuard, Autumn Lee, COOL 101.5, KLAZ 105.9, REAL 93.5, Maumelle Monitor, The North Little Rock Times, 1340 News Talk KZNG, Resort TV Cable, Hot Springs Life & Home, Relyance Bank, GastroArkansas, Mount Ida True Value Home Center, Genesis Cancer Center, Arkansas Gastroenterology Endoscopy Center, and many more who provided in-kind support for the event, this family-friendly event will impact colon cancer screening rates in Arkansas.

Across the country, colon cancer claims more than 50,000 lives in the U.S. every year. But remarkably, this disease is preventable with regular screening and very treatable if caught in its early stages. According to the National Colorectal Cancer Round Table and the American Cancer Society, Arkansas' screening rates for colon cancer sit at 59 percent, ranking 46th nationally. If screening rates can be raised to 80 percent in the next two years, almost 3,500 colon cancer cases could be prevented and over 2,500 deaths from the disease could be prevented by the year 2030 in Arkansas alone.

More information about colon cancer screening and prevention can be found at http://coloncancercoalition.org/get-educated/.

Get Your Rear in Gear Planning Committee

Editorial on 05/04/2016

Print Headline: Race fundraiser a success

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