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Local contest designed to combat cancer

January 14, 2002

Local contest designed to combat cancer



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


A new Hagerstown nonprofit group is holding a contest to raise awareness of and promote screenings for colon cancer.

Entries could be a song, skit, poem, essay, picture or painting, from teams of contestants made up of one student 18 or younger and an adult 50 or older.

The teams are being challenged to come up with a creative way to communicate the message, "Colon Cancer Testing at 50 Saves Lives."

"We want to use the arts to find creative ways to show that colon cancer testing can save lives," said June L. Wright, chairperson of the Northwest Central Committee, which is organizing the contest.

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The committee is an all-volunteer nonprofit group formed less than three months ago. Wright said they want to work to bring the community together. This is the group's first event.

The group is focusing its efforts for this contest on the neighborhood surrounding Jonathan Street , Wright said.

Wright, a survivor of pancreatic cancer, said hopefully the contest will encourage people to get tested for colon cancer, and educate the youngsters involved.

Colon cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer in Washington County, but 90 percent of those who discover the cancer through screening survive, Wright said.

"Cancer can be beaten if detected in time," she said.

According to statistics from the Washington County Health Department, colon cancer killed 34 Washington County residents in 1999, the most recent year for which figures are available. Only lung cancer, which caused 92 deaths in the county in 1999, accounted for more cancer-related deaths.

Anyone interested in participating in the contest can call Wright at 301-733-3153.

The deadline for contest entries is 8 p.m., Friday, March 1. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Performance entries will be performed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 2, at the Martin Luther King Center at 131 W. North Ave., Hagerstown.

The winning entries will be announced 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 23, at the Martin Luther King Center. Winners will receive savings bonds and gift certificates.

The contest is being sponsored by the Health Department.

The department offers free colon cancer screening for some uninsured or underinsured people.

For more information on Health Department screening, the department can be contacted at 240-420-1796.

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