St. Luke’s 5th Annual Blue Ribbon 5K and Family Fun Walk Set for Sept. 24 (Sponsored)

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FILE PHOTO

Ted Hester vividly remembers finding out he had prostate cancer back in 2013. St. Luke’s was holding a free screening at a setup in the Lowe’s parking lot across the street from St. Luke’s Anderson Campus.

FILE PHOTO

“I figured I had nothing to lose,” the 58-year-old truck driver from Nazareth said. “A week later, I got a notice that my PSA was 61.1 and I should see a urologist immediately.”

A simple blood test is all it takes for men to find out the level of their prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a strong indicator of prostate health.

Join Ted and hundreds of others for the 5th Annual Blue Ribbon 5K and Family Fun Walk at St. Luke’s Anderson Campus on Sunday, Sept. 24 to raise funds that will help offset costs for patients with prostate cancer.

“My knees are so bad, the only running I do is to the bathroom and dinner table,” Ted joked. “I can’t run anymore, but I’ve done it every year. I wouldn’t miss it.”

The main hospital building at St. Luke’s University Hospital’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township (FILE PHOTO)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men. The American Cancer Society reports there are more than 161,000 new diagnoses each year and almost 27,000 prostate cancer-related deaths each year. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66.

Early detection is the key, as Ted Hester can attest to. He did have his prostate removed, and the cancer is in remission.

Dr. Steven Blasi, D.O., and Jennifer Jones, a certified dosimetrist, co-chair the run.

“Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer in men, and it’s the third leading (cause of) cancer-related deaths in men in the United States,” Dr. Blasi said.

“I’m a family physician, so I do deal with patients who have prostate cancer. I think everyone has been touched by it, knows someone who has had the diagnosis,” he added. “It used to be a devastating disease, but it’s becoming more manageable because of early detection.”

In 2013, Jones helped found the scenic run, which loops around the St. Luke’s Anderson campus. At the time, she helped lead a prostate cancer support group.  As a runner, like Dr. Blasi, she wanted to use her passion to raise funds and awareness.

“The first year we had about 50 runners and made $573,” Jones said. “Last year we had about 150 participants and raised $18,000, so the participation and sponsorship continues to grow thanks to people like Dr. Blasi, myself, Cindy Fisher with Northgate Urology Associates and Gail Evans in Development.”

Over the last four years, Jones said the run has raised closed to $50,000 for the cancer center.

Note: This local health-related content is brought to you thanks to an editorial partnership between Saucon Source and St. Luke’s University Health Network.

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