|From left: Bob Geier (second from right) with children Kayla, Lucas and Meghan.
Smiles 4 Bob
5K Run/Walk For
Saturday, June 22nd
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Elgin, IL (near Chicago)
Going the Extra Mile
Local Elgin Families Take Steps to Save Lives for Esophageal Cance
|Meghan and Kayla with mom, Jan
Two Elgin families who have traveled a devastating journey in the battle against Esophageal Cancer are getting back on the road to make sure others won’t be forced down a path they know too well. Like more than 80 percent of people diagnosed with this disease, 52-year-old Bob Geier and 44-year-old Jackie Bagnasco lost their battles with Esophageal Cancer. With a goal of saving lives through awareness, their families along with many friends, have joined forces to organize the Second Annual Smiles 4 Bob 5K.
Runners and walkers are invited to go the extra mile on June 22, 2013 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Elgin. The families are working with the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN) to save lives by raising awareness about the critical link between Heartburn and Cancer as well as other risk factors. Most Esophageal Cancer cases in the U.S. are the type linked to Reflux Disease.
The event is called Smiles 4 Bob because Meghan and Kayla Geier always remember their dad Bob’s ever-present bright smile and want to share that optimistic point of view through their efforts. “We can save lives,” said Kayla.
“We are thrilled to have such dedicated supporters here in Chicago who share our passion for making sure others won’t die of Esophageal Cancer - it is preventable,” said ECAN’s President and CEO Mindy Mintz Mordecai. Mordecai, a native of Chicagoland, founded ECAN after her husband died of Esophageal Cancer in 2008.
“Screening could mean the difference between life and death for so many,” said Joe Bagnasco, who lost his wife Jackie in 2005. “That just fuels our desire to make sure people are informed and get checked in time to save lives.”
In response to the families’ request, Governor Pat Quinn declared April Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in Illinois. Organizers were prolific in their efforts to get the word out in April: they distributed life-saving information during 28 awareness outreach efforts throughout the month. ““We want to make sure other families don’t suffer the same pain we’ve experienced,” said Meghan Geier.
The Esophageal Cancer Action Network has produced the Patient Guide, a free download that provides patients with information about Reflux Disease and its connection to Barrett’s Esophagus and Esophageal Cancer as well as other risk factors. You can download the guide for free at http://www.ecan.org/patient_guide Free copies of the Patient Guide will be available at the Smiles 4 Bob 5K.
Every day an estimated 25 million American adults suffer from heartburn. Every 36 minutes, an American dies of Esophageal Cancer. Despite these staggering statistics, few people understand that Heartburn can cause Cancer.
The Smiles for Bob 5K race begins at 8:00 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 195 Nesler Road, in Elgin. Early registration is $25. On-site registration will be available for $30. More than 400 participants are expected to support this important cause. Get Smiles 4 Bob 5k registration and race details at www.smiles4bob5k.com.
The Geier and Bagnasco families and the Smiles 4 Bob Committee have an eye on the ultimate finish line: the day when no other family has to suffer a loss from Esophageal Cancer.