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Undy 5000 5k Team Runs to ‘Kick Colon Cancer in the Butt’

mom and beckWhen Rebecca Leroux lost her mother, Linda Little, to colon cancer in December, she knew she had to do something to honor the life of a person she describes as “a beautiful lady, bright smile, and a giver.” So Leroux organized Team Linda to participate in the Undy 5000, a 5k that raises awareness about cancer’s #2 killer.

“I wanted to make sure that my mom’s death could bring something positive,” said Leroux. “I think saving lives is definitely something positive.”

Leroux’s mother died too young at 56. After diagnosis, doctors said she only had 2 years to live, but she lived 5 ½ — something Leroux attributes to Linda’s resolute character.

“She was a fighter. Cancer didn’t own her. She owned cancer.” Leroux said, adding, “Until it finally took her.”

When Leroux was 5-years-old, her mother was in a head-on collision. Doctors said Little had only a 20% chance of getting anywhere near the person she was prior to the accident. She had to learn how to speak and tie her shoes again, but, despite what doctors said, she made it back to being 95% of the person she was before. A motivator for Little was her family, who Leroux says she lived to make happy and for whom she says she fought and chose to live for.

While Leroux says she would do anything to have her mother back, her determination now is to fight colon cancer with the same spirit her mother had. Awareness and prevention is the best way to fight the disease, she says, as is early detection. By the time Little detected the cancer at 51, she was already in stage 4 terminal colon cancer. The recommended age for screening is 50, but Leroux recommends getting it earlier if you can.

“The earlier the better. Be vigilant about your health,” said Leroux, “Because you never know.”

Leroux encourages people to donate to or participate with Team Linda in the Undy 5000 5k to help raise awareness about colon cancer and raise funds for prevention, research, and free patient support services. “People don’t really do anything about these sorts of things until it affects them personally,” Leroux added. “[But] maybe your life could be saved because of something we’re doing here in Sacramento. It doesn’t have to affect you personally. Because eventually it might.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Undy 5000 5k, which is organized by the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA), raised nearly $2 million and has grown to include 20 cities across the nation. The “undy” in the title refers, yes, to underwear. Participants are encouraged to run in their boxers or underwear to draw attention to area colon cancer affects.

Will Leroux be running in her underwear? “I’m not going to run in my girly underwear but I am going to run in Pepsi boxers,” Leroux said, pointing out that her mom loved Pepsi and hated Coke. “I figured it was a pretty good representation of my mom.”

The Undy 5000 5k takes place Saturday, March 1st at 8:40 a.m. at William Land Park, 4215 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento. Team Linda currently raised nearly $5000—the top team in Sacramento! To sign-up, give, or learn more about their efforts, visit http://support.ccalliance.org/goto/teamlinda43. All participants and donors will receive a Team Linda t-shirt from Leroux.

About the author

Bethany Harris

Bethany joined Sacramento Press in 2013 and enjoys writing articles that uncover the happenings of the city and the people behind the stories who make them so worth telling. A native of Sacramento, she also loves photography, running, gardening, coffee, and discovering new places and new things to do--both in the city and throughout California.

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