Colors of Courage event to support C-A-N-C-E-R

     Area residents have an opportunity to support their family members, friends and neighbors in their fight against cancer at a colorful event set for Saturday, October 10, 2015 in Presque Isle.  Colors of Courage is open to runners, walkers, bicyclists and others who want to support those impacted by cancer in The County and remember loved ones.

     First introduced last fall as the Color Me Pink 5K Run/Walk, the re-named event is a collaborative effort of C-A-N-C-E-R (Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery), TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care and CompetitorME.  Proceeds from the charity event will go to C-A-N-C-E-R to help fund their patient support efforts throughout central Aroostook.

     “Our amazing volunteers with C-A-N-C-E-R have certainly seen and felt the impact that cancer has on our County community.  Through our ongoing efforts to support patients and their families as they battle the disease, we have seen how cancer really impacts us all in one way or another at some point in our lifetime,” said Susan Nickerson, chairperson of C-A-N-C-E-R, a non-profit organization that dedicates 100 percent of its funds raised to support individuals fighting cancer in The County. “This is why we believe it is important to celebrate, honor, and remember not only those who have fought and are fighting the battle, but all those who form the support system around them.  We are pleased to again partner with TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care and CompetitorME as part of a greater effort to come together locally to ensure funds raised support people right here at home.”

     Although last year’s run was pink-themed in recognition of the fact that October is breast cancer awareness month, organizers encouraged participation from individuals impacted by all cancers.  To more accurately reflect this inclusive spirit, the event has been re-branded Colors of Courage.

     The run/walk is being coordinated by Jonathan Kelley of CompetitorME, who is dedicating all proceeds to C-A-N-C-E-R.

     “The word cancer evokes strong negative sentiments among many. It is invasive, damaging, and life altering. Whether you have cancer, have had cancer; are a caregiver, medical professional, or are a support person delivering professional services – cancer has impacted all of our lives,” said Kelley. “Colors of Courage is an event to celebrate survivorship, offer hope to those currently battling cancer, show support for anyone with cancer, remember a loved one, and to show unity as a community for hope.  We are looking forward to a good number of people turning out.”

     In addition to community members supporting the cause, some will be running in honor or memory of a loved one who is currently, or has formerly battled cancer.  Special colored flags with the Colors of Courage event logo have been made and will be carried on the route by those whose lives are and were touched by the cancer represented by that color.

     The Colors of Courage event will start and finish at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on Academy Street in Presque Isle.  Participants will make their way down Academy Street, onto Main Street up to Clukey’s Auto Supply, then onto Riverside Drive to Chapman Street, and from there up to Main Street to Cedar Street and back up the hospital.  Once at the finish, participants will be treated to lunch.

     Registration for the 5K run/walk and bicycle ride is $20 per adult and $5 per child under 12.  Registration is now open on-line and is accessible at Registration will also be available on event day at TAMC.

     In addition to the 5K run/walk and bicycle ride, the event will also feature a kid’s one-mile fun run.  The fun run is open to all kids 12 and under.  The first 125 participants to sign up for the event will be given a free t-shirt. Finisher medals will be awarded for the running event.

     Proceeds raised will support the various C-A-N-C-E-R programs to support individuals and families dealing with cancer.  These include a fund to provide financial assistance to offset the related costs of transportation for appointments and treatments, as well other expenses for individuals who are presented with financial hardship as they fight the disease.

     Other services offered by C-A-N-C-E-R include their signature Bread of Life Visitation program which involves the delivery of home-baked bread by volunteers to the homes of cancer patients monthly; the pharmacy program which provides free of charge personal care products not available through other services; and tote bags filled with items selected specifically with the patient in mind.

     The Colors of Courage event will be held as part of the official opening ceremonies for TAMC’s new Aroostook Cancer Care Center.  Among the key features of the center is a new state-of-the-art Varian linear accelerator for cancer patients.  The new piece of equipment replaces a 10-year-old machine that is nearing the end of its useful life.  TAMC’s linear accelerator is the piece of equipment that allows County patients to receive radiation therapy in Aroostook County.  It is the only such service offered in northern Maine for cancer patients.

     According to Dr. John Mullen, TAMC radiation oncologist, radiation therapy is one of the most important modalities used in the treatment of cancer patients. It is estimated that radiation therapy will be used in 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients at some time during the course of their disease.

     “Radiation Therapy is usually delivered five days per week anywhere from two to eight weeks depending upon the specific type and stage of the cancer.  It is therefore important, especially for patients, that the radiation treatment facility be relatively close to their homes for both convenience and to decrease the cost to the patient for travel and lodging expenses,” said Mullen.

     TAMC will offer facility tours, hold a special dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony just prior to the Colors of Courage event.

     “The new facility is an up-to-date center where treatments will be faster and the associated side effects will be decreased. With the addition of new and better treatments, more County patients than ever before will be able to stay local for all of their cancer treatment,” said Mullen.

     The Colors of Courage activity on Saturday, October 10 is as follows:

9:30-10:30 a.m. — Registration for 5K run/walk and bicycle ride at TAMC – Pinkham Entrance

Guided Tours of the new Aroostook Cancer Care Center

10 a.m. — Dedication and Ribbon Cutting for new Aroostook Cancer Care Center

10:15 a.m. — Bicycles Depart

10:30 a.m. — Kid’s 1-Mile Fun Run Begins

11 a.m. — 5K Run/Walk begins at TAMC and proceeds through downtown Presque Isle to end at TAMC

11:30 a.m.-noon — Lunch for participants at TAMC