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One Million Strong event to raise awareness about colorectal cancer

March 17, 2016 | Dagny Stuart

Thousands of colorectal patients, families and supporters will gather in Nashville April 1 and 2 for the annual One Million Strong event to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.

The nonprofit organization, Fight Colorectal Cancer, along with community partners including Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), will host two days of activities highlighting the importance of colorectal cancer research and prevention.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 132,000 new cases are expected this year, with 49,700 patients expected to die from the disease. An estimated 1,168,929 individuals in the United States are living with this form of cancer (based on the latest statistics from 2012).

This is the second year for the One Million Strong event in Nashville, which kicks off April 1 downtown at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. From 5 to 8 p.m., “The Showcase” will feature a panel of patients, advocates and medical professionals sharing their wisdom and experiences. Actor Luke Perry is slated to discuss his advocacy, which began when the wife of his best friend was diagnosed with the disease.

VICC expert Harvey Murff, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Medicine, will share details about his research, which includes the impact of genetic factors as well as dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids on inflammation and cancer risk.

Jordan Berlin, M.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and co-leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program at VICC, will also speak at the event.

At 8 p.m., participants are invited to join the “Sparks of Strength” luminary event at the Walk of Fame Park (across from the Hall of Fame). When they arrive, participants can pick up a white paper bag emblazoned with the name of a cancer fighter. The bags will be illuminated during the evening to symbolize the need to shine a bright light on this deadly disease.

On April 2 from 9 a.m. to noon, a special “Coffee with the Experts” workshop for patients and caregivers will be held at Atmology, 2320 West End Ave. Ali Schaffer, LCSW, manager of patient and family-centered care at VICC, will share information for caregivers. And there also will be practical information for patients, including nutrition and ostomy care.

Seating is limited for these free events. For more information about the nonprofit group and this and other events, visit