Runners honor patient with cancer

Runners who participated in 32nd annual Spectrum Health Irish Jig. (March 21, 2015)

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Green filled the streets of East Grand Rapids as the 32nd annual Spectrum Health Irish Jig kicked off Saturday morning.

Supporters cheered from the sidelines and among the crowd was 43-year-old Ken Dewey who is trying to overcome an obstacle himself.

“In mid-December, I was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to my colon. And late-December, I had my colon removed and now I’m in the process of a chemotherapy regimen,” said Dewey.

On Saturday morning, a group of more than 70 Spectrum Health employees, 20 co-workers from his job, and family and friends ran in honor of Dewey and to spread awareness of colorectal cancer.

“It’s great, it’s great to have the support of friends and family and coworkers. It really helps you keep going and keep moving on,” said Dewey.

Spectrum Health officials told 24 Hour News 8 that the disease has declined for people over the age of 50, but it’s on the rise for men and women between the ages of 20 and 49.

Dewey said the past few months have been a challenge, but Saturday was just enough to remind him that he’s got a team of individuals ready to fight the disease with him.

“Definitely has its challenges and its ups and downs, but it’s made a lot easier by having people who are out there caring for you and looking out for you,” said Dewey.

Spectrum Health officials say colon cancer is the third most common cause of death in the United States.

On Saturday, a few businesses provided a portion of their race proceeds to colorectal cancer research, education and patient care.

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