TOWSON , Md. (WJZ)—It’s become one of the biggest events of its kind in the nation, and it’s all for a good cause. Hundreds of Baltimoreans will lace up their shoes for the sixth annual Great Prostate Cancer Challenge.
Ron Matz reports it all happens Sunday at Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University.
In its sixth year, the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge has raised nearly $2 million and awareness about the disease.
“The Great Prostate Cancer Challenge is an event we started six years ago in Baltimore. It’s now in 34 cities across the country. Its prime objective is to raise awareness about prostate cancer, the need for screenings and to raise money for prostate cancer research and for screening opportunities for those who can’t afford it and can’t access it,” said Dr. Sanford Siegel, CEO Chesapeake Urology.
“We’re really excited about it,” Siegel continued. “There’s really no event out there that looks at and deals with men’s health issues. Komen was a great event and raised awareness about breast cancer but men never really wanted to speak about their issues. We thought this was a great opportunity about prostate cancer to get out the message.”
Dr. Siegel urges men to get screened. Phil Shulka is a prostate cancer survivor who counsels other patients.
“One out of six men get prostate cancer,” said Shulka. “Men are reluctant to talk about it. I talk to guys all the time. It’s just the nature of men. By coming out Sunday it keeps it out in the open and lets everybody know this is a situation men have to deal with.”
The challenge is a 5K run and 1 mile fun walk. Many participants have stories that hit home.
“I had to have both surgery and radiation. It looks like they’ve gotten all of it. I’m five years out and my PSA is zero,” Shulka said. “I work with Chesapeake Urology as a survivor coach. I’m able to talk to guys that are newly diagnosed. The doctors and nurses will them what it is, but I’m going to tell them what its like, particularly the side effects and if you’re going to have to deal with surgeries and radiation.”
Chesapeake Urology has been providing free screenings around Baltimore.
“It’s important to raise awareness so that people get screened, and we get to it early and cure it,” said Jeff Zemencik, Chesapeake Urology.
And helping to find a cure is what the challenge is all about.
“It’s important to raise awareness so that people get screened and we get to it early and cure it,” Zemencik said.
“There’s been a lot of controversy about screenings but we do know this: that over the last 30 years the deaths from prostate cancer have decreased by 40 percent and the main reason for that is early screenings. If you catch this disease early you can be cured,” Dr. Siegel said.
WJZ is a proud sponsor of the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge as part of our continuing community commitment.
“This is a family event,” Dr. Siegel said. “It’s not just for prostate cancer survivors. It’s for the whole family. We have bands and the Ravens and Orioles mascots, and it’s going to be a great day.”
The run and walk begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Towson University. For more information, click here.