Aroostook County –  It may have pink in the title, but a new event coming to Presque Isle on Saturday, October 11, will bring the community together to celebrate cancer survivors, show support for those currently battling the disease, and remember loved ones.

TAMC

The first-ever Color Me Pink 5K Run/Walk is a collaborative effort of C-A-N-C-E-R (Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery), TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care and CompetitorME.  All proceeds from the charity event will be equally divided between C-A-N-C-E-R to help fund their patient support efforts throughout central Aroostook, and Aroostook Cancer Care to support the purchase of needed new radiation therapy equipment, the only of its kind in northern Maine.

The run has taken on the decidedly pink theme in recognition of the fact that October is breast cancer awareness month.  The first 100 participants will be given a free pink event t-shirt and the color will otherwise be very visible through the event.  However, organizers are quick to point out that all colors – indeed all those who have been impacted by cancer in one way or another – are invited and encouraged to join in.

“Our amazing volunteers with C-A-N-C-E-R have certainly seen and felt the impact that cancer has on our County community.  Through our ongoing efforts to support patients and their families as they battle the disease, we have seen how cancer really impacts us all in one way or another at some point in our lifetime,” said Susan Nickerson, chairperson of C-A-N-C-E-R, a non-profit organization that dedicates 100 percent of its funds raised to support individuals fighting cancer in The County. “This is why we believe it is important to celebrate, honor, and remember not only those who have fought and are fighting the battle, but all those who form the support system around them.  We are also pleased to partner with TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care and CompetitorME as part of a greater effort to come together locally to ensure funds raised support people right here at home.”

Half of the event proceeds raised from the event will support the various C-A-N-C-E-R programs to support individuals and families dealing with cancer.  These include a fund to provide financial assistance to offset the related costs of transportation for appointments and treatments, as well other expenses for individuals who are presented with financial hardship as they fight the disease.

Other services offered by C-A-N-C-E-R include their signature Bread of Life Visitation program which involves the delivery of home-baked bread by volunteers to the homes of cancer patients monthly; the pharmacy program which provides free of charge personal care products not available through other services; and tote bags filled with items selected specifically with the patient in mind.

The other half of the proceeds will support the purchase of a new state-of-the-art Varian linear accelerator for cancer patients at TAMC.  The new piece of equipment will replace a ten-year-old machine that is nearing the end of its useful life.  TAMC’s linear accelerator is the piece of equipment that allows County patients to receive radiation therapy in Aroostook County.  It is the only such service offered in northern Maine for cancer patients.

According to Dr. John Mullen, TAMC radiation oncologist, radiation therapy is one of the most important modalities used in the treatment of cancer patients. It is estimated that radiation therapy will be used in 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients at some time during the course of their disease.

“Radiation Therapy is usually delivered five days per week anywhere from two to eight weeks depending upon the specific type and stage of the cancer.  It is therefore important, especially for patients, that the radiation treatment facility be relatively close to their homes for both convenience and to decrease the cost to the patient for travel and lodging expenses,” said Mullen.

TAMC will hold a special groundbreaking ceremony just prior to the 5K race start on Saturday, October 11, in the area where the new linear accelerator will be installed.  The ceremony will also mark the start of work on the new Aroostook Cancer Care Center that will include the moving of radiation oncology from the ground level to a space adjacent to the existing cancer center on the main level for patient convenience.

“The new facility to be constructed will be an up-to-date center where treatments will be faster and the associated side effects will be decreased. With the addition of new and better treatments, more County patients than ever before will be able to stay local for all of their cancer treatment,” said Mullen.

The Color Me Pink 5K Run/Walk will start and finish at TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on Academy Street in Presque Isle.  Participants will make their way down Academy Street, onto Main Street up to Clukey’s Auto Supply, then onto Riverside Drive to Chapman Street, and from there up to Main Street to Cedar Street and back up the hospital.  Once at the finish, participants will be treated to lunch.

The run/walk is being coordinated by Jonathan Kelley of CompetitorME, who is dedicating all proceeds to C-A-N-C-E-R and TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care.

“The word cancer evokes strong negative sentiments among many. It is invasive, damaging, and life altering. Whether you have cancer, have had cancer; are a caregiver, medical professional, or are a support person delivering professional services - cancer has impacted all of our lives,” said Kelley. “Color ME Pink is an event to celebrate survivorship, offer hope to those currently battling cancer, show support for anyone with cancer, remember a loved one, and to show unity as a community for hope.  We hope that a large number of community members turn out to show their support.”

Registration for the 5K Run/Walk is $20 per adult and $10 per child under 12, with a maximum family rate of $80.  Registration is now open on-line and is accessible at www.tamc.org.  Registration will also be available on event day at TAMC.

In addition to the 5K Run/Walk, the event will also feature a kid’s one-mile fun run that will take place at 10:00 a.m.  The fun run is open to all kids 12 and under.  The activity is the third in a series of seven consecutive Discovery Days children’s Saturday morning sessions co-presented by TAMC, ACAP, Healthy Aroostook, and the Presque Isle Historical Society.

The Color Me Pink 5K Run/Walk activity on Saturday, October 11 is as follows:

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.             Registration at TAMC – Entrance of Millennium Medical

Office Building (Pre-registrants pick up bib and shirt)

10:00 a.m.                               Color Me Pink Kid’s 1-mile Fun Run begins

(Open to Discovery Days program participants and all children under 12)

10:30 a.m.                               Groundbreaking for TAMC’s new Radiation Therapy Linear Accelerator

11:00 a.m.                               Color Me Pink 5K Run/Walk begins at TAMC and proceeds through downtown Presque Isle to end at TAMC

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Lunch for participants at TAMC