Great Neck resident Brian Sauer said he was “shocked” when he went in for a routine colonoscopy in June of last year and found out he had colon cancer.
“The doctor said before he did it he was 99.99 percent sure he wouldn’t find anything,” Sauer said in an interview.
Nine months later Sauer is recovering from surgery and chemotherapy treatments.
In an effort to raise awareness about the disease, Sauer will be participating in the 11th annual Colon Cancer Challenge 5K Run on March 23 at Citi Field in Queens.
Sauer hopes his participation in the run will inspire more men to be screened for the disease sooner rather than later.
“If I could get one person to get screened, it could potentially save their life,” he said.
Sauer said participating in the run is also a way of thanking the people who have supported him since his diagnosis.
“So much support has been given to me by my family and friends,” Sauer said. “I felt this was something small that I could do.”
Sauer, an accountant, said he became aware of the run on the social media site Facebook.
In addition to running, Sauer is also collecting money to benefit colon cancer research. So far he said he has collected about $5,100 to go to the Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation, a research organization that seeks to find a cure to colon cancer.
The organization was founded 11 years ago by Dr. Thomas Weber, a professor at SUNY Downstate, according to the organization’s Executive Director Catherine Montaldo.
“Our mission is that we’re interested in a world without colon cancer,” Montaldo said.
The 3.5 mile run, which will take place in the parking lot of Citi Field, seeks to raise money for colon cancer research, Montaldo said.
For the first 10 years of the event, Montaldo said, runners and supporters would gather at Central Park in Manhattan.
In recent years, the event has attracted more participants than the park could handle, Montaldo said.
“We were running into problems with size regulations and everything like that,” Montaldo said.
Although those fighting with the disease, known as “survivors”, like Sauer sometimes participate in the challenge, Montaldo said most of the participants are those supporting the survivors.
“Their families and their friends, those are the folks that come out,” Montaldo said.
The event will start at 10 a.m., Montaldo said, and will end at 2 p.m. After taking part in the run, participants can attend a wellness and education fair inside Citi Field, Montaldo said.
There will also be a “Remembrance and Prevention Walk” along the perimeter of the outfield, Montaldo said. The walk will commemorate family members and friends of the runners who have died from colon cancer.
Montaldo said her grandfather died from the disease.
Sauer said he plans to bring his wife and kid to Citi Field.
“I’m a Yankees fan,” Sauer said. “But my kid might get a kick out of being on the field.”
Sauer said his parents will also be attending the event, handing out water bottles to all of the runners.