February 24, 2004 -- (BRONX, NY) – As the grandmother to Brooke Shields’ Susan on the 1990s hit show Suddenly Susan, actress Barbara Barrie doled out advice to her granddaughter. Now, Ms. Barrie is offering advice to a much larger audience (the tri-state region), regarding a very serious subject: Colorectal Cancer.
Ms. Barrie, a survivor of colorectal cancer, is the celebrity spokesperson for the Colon Cancer Challenge, New York City’s first-ever run/walk to raise awareness of this preventable but often fatal disease. The Challenge, which will benefit Partners In Prevention – a program of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center-- is presented by the Daily News and is scheduled for Sunday, March 14th in Central Park.
The event will offer a 4-mile co-ed run, a 1.7-mile health walk, and a men’s only half marathon, with the New York Road Runners laying out each route and officiating both runs. Through the Challenge, participants are encouraged to raise funds to support the outreach efforts of Partners In Prevention, whose mission is promote education, treatment, research and prevention of colorectal cancer throughout the greater New York City community.
“I learned the hard way what colorectal cancer can do to you, largely because I was too embarrassed to talk to my doctor about symptoms I was having,” says Ms. Barrie of her experience with colorectal cancer. “I was very lucky, though. My cancer was caught at a time when it was still treatable. But with a colonoscopy, it could have been prevented earlier and that’s the important message I want people to know.”
Ms. Barrie learned about the Colon Cancer Challenge through her work with Partners In Prevention director Thomas Weber, M.D. She and Dr. Weber belong to a committee connected to the Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition organized by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden.
“Dr. Weber told me about the run/walk he was planning and I immediately offered to be of help in any way I could,” says Ms. Barrie, who is herself working to promote a colon cancer-screening project among members of the NYPD and FDNY.
“In Chicago, the Stop Colon/Rectal Cancer Foundation conducted a screening project like the one we’d like to do with our policemen and firemen here in New York and it was very successful.”
In addition to her current efforts on behalf of colorectal cancer prevention, in 2000, Ms. Barrie appeared in public service announcements for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in which she noted: “Denial and fear kept me from talking to my doctor about my symptoms of colorectal cancer. Now I know screenings can detect colorectal cancer early – or even before it starts. Talk to your doctor today – it’s a conversation that just may save your life.”
She also has authored a memoir documenting her bout with colorectal cancer, entitled Second Act. Recently, it was released in paperback under the title Don’t Die of Embarrassment: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures.
For more information on the Colon Cancer Challenge, or to register to participate, visit www.coloncancerchallenge.org, or call 1-800-MD-MONTE (1-800-636-6683).