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article imageRunning For Colon Cancer Awareness

By Debra Myers     Sep 27, 2008 in Health
Nichole Chuchmach's mother had colorectal cancer and one of her ways to deal with the illness was by running. She continued running after her mother's death in 2006, then decided to run from Ontario to New York City, to spread colon cancer awareness.
Elmira, NY - Nichole's family never took her seriously at first when she mentioned that she was considering running to New York City from her home town of Milton, Ontario. Her intent was to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer.
"I thought she was crazy," said her father, Terry Chuchmach.
She found a running mate, Jill Harper, who played on Nichole's hockey team. They had been running together daily to prepare for the coming hockey season when Nichole mentioned it to Jill. A third runner, Natalie Atkinson, 36, another friend of the Chuchmach family, who's own mother is a lung cancer survivor, joined Nichole and Jill on this endeavor, called "Sophie's Run".
The women run 11 to 13 miles six days a week toward the 780-kilometer (about 485-mile) trip. They expect to arrive in New York City on Oct. 24. Nichole's father, Terry and Jill's husband, Jeff Harper are the one's who are doing the logistics for the women's run, which changes en route, and follows along secondary roads.
"We've found it's better to go around a mountain than straight up and down it," Terry Chuchmach said.
Every 3.5 miles, they stop and talk to people along the routes, including those in the towns that they run through. That's the best part of the run the women say. People listen to their message as well as tell of their losses and survivals.
Speaking of the beauty of New York, Atkinson said, "The leaves are just starting to change. But you have a lot of big dogs."
So far, the women have worn through three pair of running shoes each, and they are working their way through the second set of three that they rotate through the week.
Their message as they meet people is to get to the doctor if you suffer from any of these symptoms:
* Prolonged diarrhea or constipation.
* Narrower than normal stools.
* Blood in stool.
* Loss of appetite; unexplained weight loss.
* Feeling that the bowel does not completely empty.
* Constant fatigue and anemia.
* Nausea and vomiting.
* Abdominal pain or discomfort.
A wonderfully large undertaking and I wish them the best!
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