Dr. Ian Bookman has witnessed the devastating impact of preventable disease personally and professionally
Dr. Ian Bookman is trying to save lives by putting a playful spin on a sensitive subject. On Aug. 26, the local resident is hosting the inaugural Bum Run, a fundraiser designed to raise awareness and funds in the fight against colon cancer.
As a gastroenterologist, he knows all too well that colon cancer is the number two cause of cancer deaths, with Ontario having one of the highest rates in the world. The catch: it is 95 per cent preventable if people get screened and it is detected early. This is what the Bum Run is all about.
“It’s something that I’ve been thinking about [doing] for a long time, but [I was] waiting until I felt I had enough time to invest properly, and then when I was ready, I consulted with charities and organizations who were already raising awareness,” he says. “My main focus was raising awareness, so it seemed it made the most sense to go for a not-for-profit organization, and any funds that we generate in the process we can give to one of the existing charities.”
Dr. Bookman hears over and over again that not enough people are getting screened, which is what he says sparked the initial idea for the run.
Not only is the event related to his experiences as a professional, but it is also related to his personal experiences. Two of his grandparents had colorectal cancer, and his great aunts and uncles have also been diagnosed.
His father and sister both had polyps — the precursor to colon cancer — making him fully aware that there’s an increased presence in his family.
“Between knowing my family history and now having a daughter, I know that I’ll make sure she has all the information she needs to know about when she’s supposed to get checked,” he says. “By the time I’m seeing patients in my practice as a doctor, it’s often too late.”
So far, Dr. Bookman and his team of volunteers have already raised more than $5,000. The funds raised will go to Colon Cancer Canada, a foundation that is making a significant impact on the disease by doing everything from advocating for access to screening to contributing funds to the search for a cure. To date, Colon Cancer Canada has raised more than $6.6 million toward these and other goals.
Dr. Bookman explains the ultimate goal of funds being raised is to drastically reduce the number of colorectal cancers diagnosed each year through increased public awareness and increased resources for screening. Raising the profile of the importance of screening can demystify any negative associations with having colonoscopies.
“The Bum Run sounds catchy, fun and to the point,” he says. “People feel comfortable saying ‘Bum Run,’ which can then lead to discussions about colorectal cancer screening.”
Bookman is hoping to have between 100 and 200 participants on Aug. 26, who will gather at Queen’s Park to take part in the five-kilometre run.
“I have the motivation to spread the word about something I believe in,” he says. “And this is something that has personal meaning to me.”
Anyone who wishes to support the cause can participate in the run or make a donation toward Colon Cancer Canada by visiting the website at www.bumrun.com.
The Post salutes Dr. Ian Bookman for going above and beyond the call of duty to help those afflicted with colon cancer.