Alexandra Myers is on a mission to raise awareness for colon cancer as well as raise money for cancer research. On March 29, the Randolph Central School senior will lead the charge in a Colon Cancer Awareness Walk/Run from 1-4 p.m. at the Randolph Firehall, located at 70 Main St.
Entitled “Cancer Isn’t Always Pink,” the event will be a 1K, 5K or 10K walk or run. Depending on their stamina, participants will have several different routes to choose from and can walk the distances as many times as they choose.
Registration is $15 and participants may choose to get pledges from family and friends or just come out and donate at the raffle to support this worthy cause. The event is sanctioned by Roswell Park Cancer Institute and all proceeds will go towards colon cancer research.
In August 2012, Myers’ mother, Stephanie Myers, lost her battle with colon cancer at age 44. About nine months later, Marianne Carpenter, her mother’s friend who lived nearby, also lost her battle with colon cancer at age 40.
Inspired by her mother’s ordeal and courage, Myers said it’s becoming a mission in her life to bring about an awareness of this disease and to raise money for cancer research to create new chemotherapies.
“Near the end of my mother’s life, after trying many different chemotherapies, the doctor at Roswell Park told her they had no more options available for her,” she said. “My mother tried everything and participated in clinical trials. She even tried special diets and food combinations, but ran out of options.”
Myers said this surprised her because there are hundreds of different chemotherapies available. However, many cannot be used depending on a person’s health condition. Out of hundreds of chemotherapies available, only 20 might apply to a certain person.
“This is one of the reasons I want to raise money for Roswell,” she said. “There are so many different types of chemotherapies that can be made, but everybody’s cancer looks different and reacts different to treatment.”
Myers, 17, has one brother, Austin, who is 15 years old and in the ninth grade at RCS. She plans to attend Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the fall for New Media Marketing. Her mother was an RIT graduate and worked as a mechanical engineer. Her father, Randy, is also a mechanical engineer. “Cancer Isn’t Always Pink,” was the title Myers came up with to focus on colon cancer, represented by a dark blue ribbon, and to remind people of the various forms of cancer.
“When most people think of cancer, breast cancer comes to mind because it’s the most talked about and most supported,” she said. “People always associate the pink ribbon with cancer, but cancer ribbons come in many colors to raise awareness of the many forms of the disease.”
Noting two astonishing facts about colon cancer, Myers said it’s the second most lethal cancer in the United States, among men and women, and one in 20 people are diagnosed with it. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is expected to cause about 50,310 deaths during 2014. Because many people are not getting tested, only about four out of 10 are diagnosed at an early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Myers said her goal for the event is to have 200 participants. Although registrations are coming in slowly, she is optimistic. With the help of others, she has been busy publicizing the walk/run, spreading the word and handing out registration forms.
Randolph Area Community Development Corporation (RACDC), also known as “Enjoy Randolph,” has partnered with Myers and is co-organizing the event with her. Together, they are partnering with WCA Hospital that is bringing a team of people to Randolph on the day of the event. The team will be at the firehall during the walk/run providing information to people about keeping the colon healthy, the right foods to eat, and getting the proper screenings.
Myers said it’s going to be a social event where people can stop in to get information, food, raffle tickets and write on the luminary wall, if they wish.
“I’m so excited and passionate about this walk and I’m really looking forward to the event,” she said. “I’ve been so focused on my schoolwork all through high school and now I’m doing something that isn’t school related.” Participants can register up until the event but are asked to sign-up as soon as possible. Walk-in registrations will be accepted on the day of the event — March 29 — and everyone is welcome.
Registration forms and more information can be found at the Randolph Municipal Building on Main Street or by contacting Myers at (716) 485-8446 or Tonia Hall at (716) 358-9701, ext. 208.