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Across the country, thousands have taken part in the Colon Cancer Coalition’s initiative called “Get Your Rear In Gear,” a series of 5K races aimed at fighting colon cancer by raising funding to support education, prevention and screening programs. On March 1, supporters gathered in Raleigh, N.C. to kick off Colorectal Cancer Awareness month with their local Get Your Rear in Gear event.

In attendance was Dan Reuland, MD, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and associate professor of medicine in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology. Dr. Reuland, who also ran in the race, praised the work of the Colon Cancer Coalition and noted that this type of funding allows healthcare providers to “better reach vulnerable populations to increase access to screening tests and ease some of the barriers associated with language, culture and literacy.” Last year, the Coalition gave $50,000 to UNC Lineberger to support the work of Dr. Reuland.

The Colon Cancer Coalition organized 10 run/walk events for this year’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. The race in Raleigh was the first of those races, which is to be followed by nine more, ranging from Pennsylvania to Texas. Since 2009, they have raised over $1.8 million through Get Your Rear in Gear events during the month of March alone.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, set to focus on a cancer that is the number two cause of cancer-related death in the United States for cancers that affect both men and women. Early detection through screening can significantly reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. All adults 50 years of age and older should be screened.