By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- A Brevard-based cancer charity and local doctor are coming together to create a unique race, with the aim of decimating a strain of one of the most feared diseases.
On Saturday, May 17, lace up your running shoes for a fantastic cause, as "The Booty Run," created in honor of Dr. Rachel Lefebvre, aims to kick colon cancer to the curb.
The 5K walk and run, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will be hosted at Ballard Park in Melbourne, and features music by Deluxe Mojo, food, vendors and cancer-resource booths.
There will also be games, drawings, giveaways and prizes for the best-dressed booty and best team spirit, as well as awards for the top male and female finishers in their respective age groups.
Registration is $32 for adults, $20 for children and $30 for team members. Interested participants may print out an entry form from www.RunningZone.com.
All proceeds will be donated to the Toni Keen Memorial Fund, a 501(c) 3, supporting Brevard County cancer patients.
Last year, Melbourne-based psychologist Dr. Lefebvre was diagnosed with Stage Four colon cancer, the most advanced form of cancer, just a few weeks after her 40th birthday.
"The news came as a shock, as I had consulted my primary care physician for symptoms of fatigue," Dr. Lefebvre, a mother of two boys, said. "I had experienced some GI rumbling and cramping, but had thought nothing of it."
Dr. Lefebvre's doctor sent her for an ultrasound, based on the fact that her liver enzymes were slightly elevated, which she believed was an unnecessary procedure.
"It probably ended up saving my life," she said. "A shadow was seen on my liver, which led to more tests to discover that my liver was invaded with tumors that had spread from my colon."
With no time for surgery, Dr. Lefebvre was immediately sent in for chemotherapy.
"Although I was deemed incurable and given a grim prognosis, I have, so far, responded very well to treatment, and after six months of intense chemotherapy, my doctor believed that 95 to 99 percent of the cancer was gone," Dr. Lefebvre said.
The inaugural "Booty Run" is the brainchild of Dr. Lefebvre, as well as a handful of friends, who wanted to help when she was first diagnosed.
"When I was diagnosed, I realized how very few resources exist here in our community, especially when it comes to helping people cope with the emotional aftermath of a diagnosis, like cancer," Dr. Lefebvre said. "My friend Louise came up with the idea of the 'Booty Run,' and as the idea developed, it became clear to me that I wanted to raise awareness for colon cancer, as it is preventable with screenings and treatable, when caught early."
Dr. Lefebvre said that the goal of the inaugural "Booty Run" is to raise awareness for colon cancer, while honoring colon cancer patients and raising money to increase resources for them.
With colon cancer ranking as the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, the "Booty Run" aims to promote how important early detection is, especially since colon cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers, if it's caught early.
"I know my battle is not over, but my results are, so far, very promising, and I am thrilled to be back at work part-time, doing the job that I love so much," Dr. Lefebvre said. "I was a healthy, working mother of two boys, now 8 and 9, when I was diagnosed last summer."
The inaugural Booty Run is Saturday, May 17 at Ballard Park in Melbourne, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Ballard Park is located at 924 Thomas Barbour Drive, Melbourne.
For more information, visit www.RunningZone.com.