Health Education Brings Colorectal Cancer Awareness to BP Rondy Grand Parade

Southcentral Foundation Health Education marches to increase awareness around colorectal cancer, during the Fur Rondy parade in downtown Anchorage on Feb. 24, 2018.

Each year, toward the end of February, thousands of Alaskans and visitors from across the globe travel to Anchorage to take part in the Fur Rendezvous winter festival, also known as Fur Rondy.

The 10-day event has been celebrated for 83 years and hosts traditional activities that showcase Alaska Native cultures, like the blanket toss and the Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market. Fur Rondy boasts fun for the whole family, including crowd favorites like the running of the reindeer, unique snow sculpture displays, Rondy World Championship Sled Dog Races, and a carnival.

For the seventh year, Southcentral Foundation Health Education participated in Anchorage’s largest parade, the 2018 BP Rondy Grand Parade, held on Feb. 24. Health Education marched down Fifth and Sixth Avenue, spreading awareness of colorectal cancer while wearing festive costumes of polyps, fruits, and veggies. Rather than parading their usual float, the team decided to demonstrate healthy habits by walking. They carried signs to encourage cancer screenings and healthy habits to prevent colorectal cancer, with messages like: eat beans, reduce sodium intake, and quit smoking. These efforts helped to kick off SCF’s colon carnival, which took place in the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center lobby every Friday in March in support of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“The overall message is that colorectal cancer is treatable, beatable, and preventable,” said Velda Miller, SCF health education supervisor. Health Education’s primary goal of participating in the BP Rondy Grand Parade was to encourage the community to get screened for colorectal cancer. They promoted FIT, a fecal immunochemical test that screens for hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early sign of colon cancer. The FIT is a convenient colorectal screening test provided at the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center. It is simple and allows customer-owners to take the test at home, and mail back their sample — reducing the time and expense of traveling to Anchorage.

For more information on colorectal cancer screening, contact SCF Health Education in Anchorage at (907) 729-2689 or in the Valley at (907) 631-2689.

by Esther Robertson

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