By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — An event that raises funds for those with bladder cancer and their families is in its third year and growing.
The Ginny Dutton Memorial Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk is May 10, 8 a.m. to noon, at the Gardendale Civic Center.
The event honors Dutton, who died of bladder cancer on Easter Sunday in 2012, and it also raises funds and awareness for bladder cancer victims.
“In some ways, bladder cancer can be a silent killer at first in that some people may not pay attention to symptoms,” said Dr. Thomas E. Moody of Urology Centers of Alabama, which is sponsoring the memorial walk.
He said symptoms include blood in the urine and irritation when urinating, which can often be mistaken for a urinary tract infection.
In fact, that was the case with Ginny Dutton, according to her daughter Kara Philips. Phillis is organizing the memorial walk.
Dutton received her diagnosis of cancer after two rounds of antibiotics did not cure what she first thought was a urinary tract infection. She was one of Moody’s patients.
“I think what (Phillips) is trying to do is make sure her mother’s death wasn’t in vain and to raise awareness about bladder cancer,” Moody said. “Ginny was a wonderful person.”
After being diagnosed in September 2010, Dutton was cancer-free in 2011 when her daughter contacted the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) wanting to do something to raise awareness of bladder cancer.
She told her mother at Christmas in 2011 about the upcoming bladder cancer awareness walk, which was to be named in Dutton’s honor.
But Dutton’s cancer returned in March 2012, and she died in April. She did not survive to see the first walk held in her honor.
Moody said bladder cancer is the fourth leading cancer that causes deaths in the United States. “It claims the lives of a lot of people,” he said, adding that the main cause of bladder cancer is smoking cigarettes.
“In fact, it’s rare for us to find bladder cancer in someone that doesn’t smoke,” he said.
The next leading cause is environmental exposures, such as dyes and chemicals, for people in certain jobs.
The first Ginny Dutton Memorial Walk raised about $500 for bladder cancer awareness; last year’s raised about $3,500.
All proceeds go to BCAN, which provides patients, caregivers and doctors with educational resources and support services during the treatment of bladder cancer.
To sign up for the memorial walk, follow this link to www.active.com. Registration is $15 plus a small service charge, and includes a T-shirt for the walker. The site also has a donation page.