When last in person, it was called the Undy RunWalk, a timed 5K race and fundraiser. While the event is still a fundraiser for the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, it is now the Walk to End Colon Cancer. Supporters and Tampa community members know exactly what the mission of this event is: to end colorectal cancer.
The 5K walk is untimed as participants take their time along the path to remember the journey with colorectal cancer that over 1.4 million Americans face.
In January 2017, at the age of 46, Tara Polk of Brandon was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer that had spread to her liver.
“I am compelled to keep doing the event each year because I continue to come across people impacted by this disease, and I feel it is my calling to help as much as I can,” Polk said. “Since the pandemic started, a close friend of my brother’s was diagnosed with colon cancer and then one of that man’s close friends was diagnosed with colon cancer as well. Both were under the age of 50 when diagnosed. I have been a resource to each of these survivors, and I know that they both have truly appreciated connecting with someone who knows exactly what they are going through.”
The Tampa Bay Walk to End Colon Cancer will take place on Saturday, February 12 at Al Lopez Park in Tampa. Registration is free for the walk and Polk hopes more people from the community will come out and walk with her.
“When I participate in this event, I am reminded how far I have come since my diagnosis, how precious life is, how much we need one another and how much work we still have to do to find a cure,” Polk said. “My hope for this year’s event is that we can get back to our pre-pandemic 2020 participation numbers. In 2020, we had over 500 participants, the most ever for the Tampa Bay event. I also hope we can spread awareness about the new screening age of 45. I know we will save lives by getting the word out.”
If you would like to learn more about the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and its Walk to End Colon Cancer, you can visit www.ccalliance.org.
If you would like to register for the walk, you can visit the registration link at firstname.lastname@example.org.