RANDOLPH - Alexandra Myers has made it her mission to bring about awareness of colon cancer and to raise money for cancer research. The Randolph Central School senior is off to an excellent start - raising more than $11,188 from the proceeds of a colon cancer awareness walk/run and presenting the check to Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
With the assistance of Tonia Hall, executive director of the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation, staff from WCA Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, Myers was able to organize and execute the successful event entitled, "Cancer Isn't Always Pink," which was held at the Randolph Fire Hall, March 29. The resulting proceeds far exceeded her expectations with approximately 250 walkers/runners and other supporters turning out for the event.
This event was particularly important to Myers because in August 2012, her mother, Stephanie Myers, lost her battle with colon cancer at age 44. About nine months later, her mother's friend, Marianne Carpenter, lost her battle at age 40.
Randolph Central School student Alexandra Myers presented a check totaling $11,188.72 to Dr. Wen Wee Ma, associate professor of oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, May 16. In an effort to raise awareness for colon cancer, Myers held a walk/run event at the Randolph Fire Hall, in March, and donated the proceeds to cancer research.
Photo courtesy Tonia Hall
On May 16, accompanied by her father, Randall Myers; a family friend, Peggy Root; and Hall, Myers made the trip to Roswell where she was pleased to personally present the check to Dr. Wen Wee Ma, head of the colon cancer department at Roswell. Dr. Ma, an associate professor of oncology, was her mother's doctor and he remembered her fondly.
He very graciously took time to talk to Myers and told her some of the medical trials her mother participated in are working for a number of patients but, unfortunately, too late for her mother. However, he noted that what Stephanie did made a difference in the fight for finding a cure.
Inspired by her mother's ordeal and courage, Myers said this is one of the reasons she wants to raise money for Roswell - to create new chemotherapies. 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.
"I'm proud and honored to have a mom that was as brave as she ... to participate in clinical trials and studies, without knowing if they would work, in order to advance the search for a cure," she said. "I'm so glad they have made such advancements in the colon cancer treatments and I'm proud to know that my mom helped. She turned an extremely negative thing into something positive ... like always."
Hall said they were informed that when a donation of this type is made to research, they are able to access additional grant funds that match at the rate of $13 for every $1 donated, which turned Alex's donation of $11,188.72 into $145,444.
Myers said she had no idea it would turn into that much capital in grant money and she's so excited she could make such a large contribution to colon cancer research. Without said grants, Roswell's research would not be as far as it is today.
According to Myers, colon cancer is 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 for this highly preventable form of cancer, only about four out of 10 are diagnosed at an early stage when treatment is most likely to be successful.
Myers said everyone who participated in the "Cancer Isn't Always Pink" event deserves a huge thank you. All the walkers/runners, sponsors, people who donated baskets for the Chinese auction, and the volunteers who assisted before and during the event made the donation possible. They should feel great knowing their contributions made a big difference in helping to find a cure for colon cancer.
For more information about this deadly disease, contact Roswell Park Cancer Institute online at www.roswellpark.org. People may donate to the cause and support cancer research online, by phone at 845-4444, or mail at Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.