Seventy runners and walkers came together for the first-ever Blue Ribbon Fun Run & Walk on March 24. The Fun Run & Walk, a community effort designed to raise awareness about Colorectal Cancer while raising funds for the Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance, surpassed organizers’ expectations.
“To have such an overwhelming success with 70 participants, dozens of volunteers, to raise more than $2,600 in the first year says all you need to know about Bishop, the surrounding communities, the local businesses and the people,” said Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Inyo Healthcare District, “I have lived in a lot of places, but I have never seen such enthusiasm for a cause in its first year.”
ESCA Founder and spokesperson Pat Ramirez thanked organizers for their efforts. “The funds raised for ESCA will help many community members having cancer,” Ramirez said. “Our clients need financial help with prescription co-pays, devices to help with activities of daily living, fuel/mileage reimbursement, groceries, lodging expenses when they have to travel out of town for treatments. These are some examples how the funds raised will help our community members.”
Participants had the opportunity to run, jog or walk along a 3K, 5K or 10K course that began and ended at Brown’s Town Campground. Between registration fees and donations, more than $2600 was raised to benefit ESCA’s assistance to those diagnosed with cancer.
Dr. Flanigan noted how impressed he was with the number of businesses and health agencies who came together to support the run. Sponsors of the event included Northern Inyo Healthcare District, Sage to Summit, Brown’s Town Campground and Brown’s Supply, Reach Air – Sierra Lifeflight, Kmart, Vons, McDonald’s, La Casita Mexican Restaurant, The Inyo Register, KIBS/KBOV Radio, The Sheet, and Sierra Wave Media.
For NIHD’s staff, the Fun Run & Walk capped a month-long focus on Colorectal Cancer Awareness. Since the beginning of March, NIHD offered extended evening hours at its General Surgery Clinic, allowing people to consult with Drs. Allison Robinson and Robbin Cromer-Tyler about screening methods for this preventable, treatable and beatable cancer. Nearly a dozen area residents participated in the two evening clinics. Participants enjoyed healthy hors d’oeuvres and salads from NIHD’s Dietary Department while waiting to see the doctors.
Dr. Robinson’s Healthy Lifestyle Talk on the subject drew more than 30 participants. NIHD employees took part in National Dress in Blue Day on March 2, and through donations, raised $452 for ESCA.
While Dr. Flanigan said the Healthcare District would continue to place a focus on this disease each March, he encourages everyone 50 and older to be screened no matter what month it is. “This is one of the few cancers that can be stopped in its tracks before it becomes full-fledged cancer,” Dr. Flanigan said. “If you are 50 and older, or have a family history of this disease, please be screened for the sake of you and your loved ones. Make your bottom your top priority; it could save your life.”