KINGSPORT — Do not call 911 if you see a throng of people running through Kingsport in their unmentionables on Sunday, April 7. It is just people running to raise awareness of colorectal cancer during the second annual Skivvy Scoot 5K.
The race is sponsored by the Wellmont Cancer Institute and Gastroenterology Associates and is certified by USA Track & Field. As part of the race, runners wear “skivvies” or boxer shorts over their clothing. Some canine participants even donned boxers during last year’s inaugural event.
Sue Lindenbusch, the cancer institute's vice president, said the Skivvy Scoot is a fun way to raise awareness of an often overlooked cancer.
“Colon cancer can be a quite preventable, very treatable disease. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to talk about it because they think it’s such a sensitive topic. But if we don’t talk about it, we can’t save lives,” Lindenbusch said.
The Skivvy Scoot is an entertaining way to get people talking about colon cancer and the importance of regular colonoscopies.
“Events like this also give colon cancer survivors and family members a way to help others learn about and prevent the disease,” Lindenbusch said.
Each year, colon cancer afflicts some 150,000 Americans. Of those, one third, or 50,000, die. That makes it the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation.
Colonoscopies are the best way to prevent colon cancer, said Dr. Douglas Strickland, a board-certified gastroenterologist with Gastroenterology Associates in Kingsport. Strickland plans to join other runners in this year’s Skivvy Scoot.
“Research proves that a colonoscopy reduces your chance of colon cancer. If you remove the colon polyps early enough, you can potentially prevent colon cancer,” Strickland said.
“It’s very important that people get screening colonoscopies beginning at age 50. If you’ve had a first-degree relative with polyps or colon cancer, you should begin at age 40. African-Americans should begin screening at age 45.”
The Skivvy Scoot is an amusing way to not only draw attention to the importance of colonoscopies but also to provide assistance for people who cannot afford them.
Proceeds from the Skivvy Scoot will fund colorectal screenings for low-income people who live right here. Last year’s race raised nearly $10,000 for colonoscopies and education for indigent residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. From those funds, 12 colonoscopies were performed and eight potentially cancerous colon polyps were removed.
Funds are distributed by Wellmont Foundation’s Wellmont Cancer Society, a group that helps cancer patients who experience financial needs.
The race will begin at 3 p.m. at the Ravine Road entrance to Kingsport’s Greenbelt, behind the Holston Valley Outpatient Center at 103 W. Stone Drive. Due to road construction on Sullivan Street, the course will be altered slightly from last year’s route.
Participants of all ability levels are encouraged to take part. Racers may either run or walk the 5K distance. And, while wearing boxers is a fun aspect to the race, it is not required. Those who do choose to wear underwear should wear it over their clothes.
All participants must adhere to the dress code.
Teams and families are encouraged to participate in the race. The registration fee is $25 per runner. Professional race management and electronic tag timing will be provided by We Run Events.
To register, please visit www.gastrotn.com. Online registration for the Skivvy Scoot closes at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 5.
Registration will also be available from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at early-packet pickup at the start/finish line in the parking lot behind the Holston Valley Outpatient Center. Day-of-race registrations will start at noon in the same location.
For more information about the Skivvy Scoot 5K, call Lisa Collette with Gastroenterology Associates at 782-0689. For more information about colon cancer, its risk factors and preventive measures, please call Wellmont Nurse Connection 1-877-230-NURSE (6877).