SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Totals are in from this year’s Get Your Rear in Gear run.
More than $30,000 was raised for the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion at St. Joseph’s/Candler.
The growing impact continues to thrill the volunteer who started the event seven years ago.
The Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion has changed since Dee Dee Cargill first walked into it - partly because Dee Dee Cargill walked into it.
“I’m going to reach my fifteenth survivor anniversary Aug. 30, and I probably had been out of chemo a few months when I started volunteering in the chemo room down the hall,” Cargill said.
A few years later, Cargill heard of a national event that raised money and awareness for colon cancer, and decided to start Get Your Rear in Gear race in Savannah.
“We said if we could get 250 people, maybe 350 people out, it would be a success. That first year, we had 904 register. It was amazing. I didn’t quit smiling for a week I was so excited about it.”
Since that first race in 2012, Get Your Rear in Gear has not stopped spurring growth at the Pavilion, contributing more than $220,000 to the center, including more than $30,000 - this year alone.
“It has had a huge impact. Over all of the years, we have been able to increase our screening rates for patients with pre-malignancies. We’ve been able to, just last year, screen 65 patients with colonoscopies who otherwise would not have gotten them, but we were able to detect 46 pre-cancerous legions," said oncology patient navigator, Dana Coleman.
“Numbers like that are going to keep me smiling for weeks.”
Cargill no longer operates the race that is now dedicated to the memory of WTOC’s Mike Manhatton, but remains as committed as ever to the cause.
“Every year, we have new teams and new groups that are just now entering the discussion about colon cancer.”
“It’s been very valuable to have a community that has helped push that drive.”
"Today, we’re providing screenings to our un- and underinsured neighbors here in our community, so all the money we raise stays right here in Savannah.
Cargill still volunteers and was at this year’s Get Your Rear in Gear race just two weekends ago.