HOUSTON - This Colon Cancer Awareness Month, a man from Houston is raising awareness about early detection.
Keith Rollins wants to invite you to his walk on Saturday, March 5. Here's why it's so important to him and his family. They want to spread the word that a colonoscopy is a simple test that can be a true life-saver. Plus, it should be performed earlier in life than many realize.
"I kept on thinking, man 45. I can't believe no one told me to go get my colonoscopy at 45! I would have gone and done it," exclaims Keith.
He had to find out the hard way, after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.
"I had no symptoms, I had no pain or anything, it was very much a silent situation," explains Keith.
A different medical problem took him to the doctor's office when he discovered he should get a colonoscopy.
Colon cancer starts as a benign polyp that can be removed before turning into cancer if caught early. Keith underwent a much more serious type of surgery.
"He went in, took out ten inches of my colon, and spliced it back together. When he did that, he took out 32 lymph nodes and four of them came back cancerous. So he said that's a higher risk for reoccurrence, so you need to go see an oncologist. I went and saw him and he said, six months of chemo, that's 12 rounds of chemo, you absolutely need to do this. I said, let's start, let's go," states Keith.
Keith decided to share his journey to help others, and he and his family started a foundation to do just that.
"I was telling my wife, we need to get the word out. We need to get some awareness going here. Let's be forward-thinking. I read a book called 'Don't Waste Your Cancer' and I said, I need that. It was propelling me to do something and to not waste this experience. So, I said, why don't we start a foundation? Let's come up with something to raise awareness," explains Keith.
He came up with The Push-Up Foundation.
"To push up the age, but also you get things pushed up in you, so that was a double meaning, tried to bring a little humor to it. So my wife, daughter, and son all really started doing the legwork. We got an attorney, he made sure we had a 501c3, got an EIN, got everything set up. Then, I said, when I get through with this, I want to have an event," says Keith.
Did he ever! Three hundred people showed up to their first 5K fun run and walk called "The Victory Lap" last year. They even had doctors on hand, to share potentially life-saving information about healthy living and colon screenings.
"A lot of my friends who are 50 plus, were saying, I haven't gotten my colonoscopy. I mean this, I'm going to go do that. Thanks so much for giving me the nudge, and so we have just been tracking all the people that we've pushed to take action and we feel like we're making a difference in making some impact," says Keith.
One person at a time, Keith hopes to save lives.
"I want people to wear that shirt. I want people to go hey, what's the Push-Up Foundation? What's the Victory Lap, so they can tell the story and hopefully, one person or two people or three or whatever, take action and go get their colonoscopy.
The second annual 5K Victory Lap is Saturday, March 5, at Memorial Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information, click here.