SEA Blue_woman with flagTen years ago, three volunteers gathered together to fight a disease that annually claims the lives of thousands of men.

The 11th annual SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk & Run kicks off Sept. 13 from 8 a.m. to noon in Lincoln Park. Participants will gather at LaSalle and Stockton along the lakefront to raise money for prostate cancer education and support provided by Us TOO International, a nonprofit which helps those affected by prostate cancer.

“This event was founded 10 years ago by three volunteers who wanted to raise awareness for prostate cancer and recognize it as a serious disease—the second leading cancer killer of men following lung cancer,” said Us TOO President & CEO Thomas Kirk. “We extend our thanks to all of the event sponsors, participants, donors and volunteers who make this event possible, in addition to event co-presenter UroPartners. Working together we can continue to provide Us TOO educational resources and support services free of charge.”\

Black men are 60% more likely than white men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease. Black men are also diagnosed at a younger age (about 3 years younger on average) and are more likely to have “high grade” tumors — the kind of tumors that grow rapidly, spread to other parts of the body, and often cause death, according to a 2013 article by the American Cancer Society.

Genetics, socioeconomic factors and the lack of race specific data could account for the disease disproportionately affecting Blacks, according to the American Cancer Society’s article.Because of their higher risk and the fact that the disease hits black men earlier, the American  Cancer Society and other organizations recommend that a discussion about prostate cancer screening begin at age 45 for black men (and at age 50 for men at average risk).

According to the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is the second largest cancer killer of men following lung cancer.  Prostate cancer claims the lives of approximately 30,000 men annually, and more than 220,000 men are diagnosed every year.

The SEA Blue name emphasizes the importance of the blue ribbon as the official symbol of prostate cancer awareness, Kirk said, adding that the SEA is an acronym for the event’s goal to raise funds to Support, Educate and Advocate for those families whose lives have been impacted by prostate cancer.

Activities throughout the day include the 5K CARA-certified race, celebration walk featuring a blue confetti start, educational sessions with physician presentations, free PSA testing, and free lunch, drinks and snacks.There will also be a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, a DJ and live music. New for this year is the “Family Fun Zone” for kids with face painting, “dress-up in blue” photo area, temporary tattoos, special t-shirts, balloons, a bounce house and more.  Prior to the event, participants raise funds through donations from family and friends to support their commitment to run or walk in the event as an individual or as a member of a team.

Event registration includes a t-shirt and is priced at $45 for adults, $20 for kids seven to 17, and free to children six and under. To register or find more information, visit http://www.seablueprostatewalk.org or call 630-795-1002.

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