Nearly 200 people gathered for the first annual fundraising event held at Stoney’s Bar and Grill in Denver. Honored at Tee Off 2012 was longtime Centennial-resident Bill Reddig, the namesake behind The Bill Reddig Foundation. Diagnosed in 2008 with stage IV EC, Reddig’s only symptom was a difficulty swallowing. A non-smoker with no family history of EC, Reddig was shocked at the diagnosis and now after four years, 11 esophagus dilations, two major surgeries at the University of Colorado and Sloans Kettering Memorial, 25 radiation treatments, 10 chemotherapy treatments and the loss of his voice box, Reddig is a survivor.
The latest reports from the American Cancer Society show that diagnosis and mortality rates are down in almost every type of cancer - except cancer of the esophagus. EC is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S., with a new case diagnosed every 31 minutes. Of those individuals diagnosed with EC, only one in five of them will survive five years after diagnosis.
“We are so grateful to have my Dad with us today and to be able to honor him with the creation of The Bill Reddig Foundation for Esophageal Cancer,” said Jyl Reddig, Bill’s daughter and co-founder with her sister Jamie Reddig, of The Bill Reddig Foundation. “We exceeded our expectations at our first fundraising event and were moved by the support of our community. We are extremely thankful for everyone who is supporting The Bill Reddig Foundation and is helping us find a cure for esophageal cancer and raise awareness for this deadly disease.”
Reddig’s tips for detecting and preventing EC, “If you regularly feel heartburn, acid reflex, trouble swallowing—check it out. Get an endoscopic check-up under anesthesia—take a short nap and get it checked out! It’s a 20 minute procedure…and it will be well worth it.”
ECEF will distribute funds raised at Tee Off 2012 toward two grants. The first grant is for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, N.Y. for research on a means of detecting EC earlier through a blood test, and a second project that focuses on a cellular level equipment project that can look at cells 1,000 times in more detail, with the intent of seeing cancerous cells much earlier than currently able to do.
The Tee Off 2012 event committee consisted of Bill Reddig, along with his wife Kathy, daughters Jamie and Jyl, both of Denver, Jenn Bruining and Mellissa Horning of Denver, Debbie Carnesi of Parker, and Holly Shrewsbury of Englewood. The event was held in April in honor of Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.
About The Bill Reddig Foundation for Esophageal Cancer:
The Bill Reddig Foundation for Esophageal Cancer (The Bill Reddig Foundation) was established in 2012 to educate the public on the causes and cures of esophageal cancer (EC) in honor of EC survivor Bill Reddig and all others who have fought against this deadly disease. The Bill Reddig Foundation is dedicated to supporting scientific and medical research in an effort to find effective treatments and a cure for EC. For more information about The Bill Reddig Foundation, visit http://www.facebook.com/
About The Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation:
The Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation (ECEF) was established in 2003 to educate the public and medical community about the dangers of esophageal cancer (EC) and to assist newly diagnosed patients with their journey through treatment. Founded by Bart Frazzitta, an EC survivor whose own experience and work as a patient-to-patient volunteer with newly diagnosed esophageal cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, made him realize how little information there was on this subject. ECEF has rapidly moved forward with a far-reaching vision, to address the lack of awareness and education surrounding EC. Frazzitta co-authored a book, 100 Questions & Answers about Esophageal Cancer and produced an educational CD-Rom for patients along with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. For more information about ECEF visit http://www.fightec.org.