Racers hit the beach Sunday to raise colon cancer awareness


Hundreds of people will race down picturesque Jacksonville Beach on Sunday morning to help find a cure for colon cancer in the seventh annual March to Get Screened 5k.

The March to Get Screened event was founded to help raise awareness of the importance of colon cancer screenings, which is especially vital because of how treatable the cancer is. Colon cancer — the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States — is 90 percent curable if detected early. Yet, it is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2016.

“(The race) is all about saving lives by getting screened,” said two-time colorectal cancer survivor and patient of the Borland-Groover Clinic, Jan Pratt. Pratt is the founder of March to Get Screened and was diagnosed in 2002 with stage three colorectal cancer at age 35.

“By sharing my own personal experience I hope to get more people that just have polyps screened early so they can be removed before they have a chance to become cancerous,” Pratt said. “If we save just one person from dying from colon cancer we have succeeded. I want to save everyone from colon cancer by finding a cure, but until then screening is the next best thing.”

Getting screened at age 50 or earlier if you are having any digestive issues or there is family history of colon cancer is key to saving lives.

“If I hadn’t gotten screened, I wouldn’t be here today,” Pratt said.

Participants can register and race at the event for free, but donations will be accepted. Donations benefit the Borland-Groover Clinic Foundation for Research and Education, which helps educate the community about digestive health issues and research to fight these illnesses. Last year, the event raised more than $20,000 for the Borland-Groover Clinic Foundation.

“March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and our March to get Screened time has become somewhat of a celebratory event at the Borland-Groover Clinic,” said Vicki King, Practice Administer at the Borland-Groover Clinic. “Seeing the Jacksonville community (support) us in a bringing awareness that colon cancer can be prevented, and is easy to get screened. We have been inspired with the stories shared with us from the March to Get Screened participants, and we hope it continues to grow in numbers.”