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Medical Center supports annual Mercer Island half marathon

SEATTLE, Wash. — (March 15, 2006) — On Sunday, March 26, Virginia Mason Medical Center (VM) will join numerous local businesses and health care organizations to sponsor the 2006 Mercer Island Rotary Half Marathon, a run/walk to build awareness about colon cancer prevention.

More than 3,000 patients, health care partners, advocates, friends and family from around the Puget Sound area are expected to participate in this 34th annual event on Mercer Island. The event marks one of the first marathons of the running season.

“Colon cancer is a preventable disease. Prevention is essentially the cure. Education and awareness are the first steps in that direction,” says Jack Brandabur, gastroenterologist at VM and local Mercer Island resident. “Virginia Mason’s participation in the Mercer Island half marathon is an opportunity to raise awareness and get this urgent message out to the public.”

Colorectal cancer includes cancers of the colon, rectum, appendix and anus. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, second only to lung cancer. Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be successfully screened and cured if caught early enough.

"As a colon cancer survivor, I would gladly have given up a day of my life for screening instead of the year colon cancer took out of my life. I’m happy to share my experience so others can benefit,” said Katy Duggan. “It is very important to get a screening colonoscopy at 50 years old or earlier if there is a family history. And I'm ready to get out there on race day and have fun!"

Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care Seattle hospital. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and adult day health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

Mercer Island Rotary Run/Walk
Founded in 1972, the Run/Walk around Mercer Island has raised over $1.5 million dollars and touched over 200,000 people. Funds raised the last several years go directly to Colon Cancer awareness programs at Virginia Mason Team Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Overlake Hospital & Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center. The event also funds Mercer Island Rotary programs locally, nationally and internationally.For more information, call (206) 236-5323 x1920 or visit www.ontherunevents.com/mihalf.
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