The Undy 5000 5K Run/Walk to fight colon cancer will return to Metro Atlanta for the third consecutive year. Smyrna resident and colon cancer survivor Dawn Gagliardi is among the hundreds of participants who will be running in their underwear to help raise awareness for the disease this weekend in Marietta.
In 2002, Gagliardi was constantly plagued with an upset stomach, discomfort, bloating and extreme pain. She was told that she had Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The IBS treatments, however, did not work for her even after countless visits to the doctor's office. After her visit to a gastroenterologist and receiving a colonoscopy, she was immediately diagnosed with stage II colon cancer at just 31 years old.
Along her journey fighting the disease and becoming a survivor, Gagliardi has focused much of her energy on bringing awareness to colon cancer and the Atlanta Undy 5000.
The event hosted by the Colon Cancer Alliance’s (CCA) will take place at 9 a.m. this Saturday in Marietta Square, and participants are encouraged to run in their underwear as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the area affected by colon cancer.
“Last year, we had just over 500 participants run, which included over 40 colon cancer survivors,” said Todd Setter, National Undy 5000 Event Director. “We know this year will shatter last year’s records, and we hope we have tons more survivors, since that’s what this event is all about, after all—early detection and surviving!”
The Atlanta Undy 5000 will feature the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Inflatable Colon, which is a giant, walk-through colon that shows the various stages of colon cancer.
The Undy 5000 will be held in 17 cities across the country this year to educate the public about colon cancer, promote screenings and encourage people to talk about the disease. Instead of raceday T-shirts, all registered participants receive a commemorative pair of Undy 5000 boxers. It is a family-friendly event open to all ages, and in addition to the 5K, there is a 1-mile fun run.