Virtual Steps to Save Lives October 2022 supporting Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN)
Virtual Steps to Save Lives October 2022

About Virtual Steps to Save Lives October 2022

ECAN is still unable to host the series of in-person 5K events we held in the past.

Our October 2022 Steps to Save Lives Virtual 5K Run, Walk or Roll 
will be a fun - possibly spooky - and effective way to fight Esophageal Cancer.  

Even though we won’t be Running on the Same Course – we will be on the Same Track: ​​our efforts will raise Awareness and Funding to Fuel our Quest to Reach the Day when Nobody has to Die of Esophageal Cancer!

WHO: Anyone can join – whether you are a runner, jogger, walker, or roller in a chair with wheels.  When you register, you’ll have the chance to set up your own fundraising page, with your story and pictures or videos, and all of the support to make your efforts to gain support for the fight against Esophageal Cancer effective.  You can even form teams and gather your crew to join you in this fight! 

You will win prizes for reaching various fundraising milestones and very cool ones for the individual and team that raise the most!​

🎃You can also win prizes when you take your Steps to Save Lives
in Your Halloween Costume!

💀Find out more here.👻

WHAT: You will run, walk, or roll in your chair to cover 5K (or 3.1 miles). Everyone who registers will receive their event t-shirt, racing bib, medal, and goody bag through the mail. We will do our best to get your swag bag to you before the start of the race.  

We only guarantee your swag bag will arrive by October 23rd if you register by September 23rd.

WHERE: Any location that is  convenient for YOU!

WHEN: You can cover the distance at any time between Sunday, October 23rd at 8 am EST until Sunday, October 30th at 8 am

We will kick off this special week with our online Opening Ceremonies at 8 am on Sunday, October 23rd

The fastest competitive men and women runners will receive medals and awards based on their age categories and overall. 

We use an honor system, so you’ll enter your time through our online form any time from October 23rd – October 30th at 8 am EST. First, second and third place winners will be recognized with medals in both men’s and women’s categories based on age. The men and women who have the top three times overall will also get special awards.  

The fastest runners and most successful fundraisers will be announced during our spooky online Closing Ceremony at 5 pm on Sunday, October 30th.

HOW: By taking Steps to Save Lives! For those who may need a little boost to prepare to go the distance, ECAN has partnered with the folks at Couch to 5K to give you the support you may need.  We have week-by-week guidance, an online support community, and a even a special playlist to help you reach peak condition to finish the race!

WHY: Because you want to end Esophageal Cancer!  You will fuel the fight against this devastating disease with your participation.  Every dollar you raise will raise awareness about the link between acid reflux and Esophageal Cancer, promote Early Detection to Prevent Cancer before it Starts, fight for increased funding for medical research to find treatments to prevent, detect, treat and cure Esophageal Cancer. You will also provide trustworthy, useful educational programming and support for patients and families at risk for Esophageal Cancer.  

If you need some tips on how to be successful in your fundraising efforts, we've got them for you right here!


Starts at:  October 23, 2022 8:00 AM
Ends at:  October 30, 2022 8:00 AM






A message from our event chair:

As a Physician Assistant, I did not expect to personally encounter Esophageal Cancer.  It was something I expected to study in my textbooks. But unfortunately, it hit close to home in 2017.  My father, Robert Hicks, was diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal Cancer.  He had selflessly volunteered at Ground Zero for many weeks, breathing in carcinogens without any protective equipment. We believe that exposure caused my father’s cancer.

First, my dad developed pain in his mid-back in Spring of 2017.  He was diagnosed with gallstones and his gallbladder was removed.  But the pain continued, he started to lose weight and had difficulty swallowing.  Soon enough, I was scrambling to find an oncologist to see him.  After two opinions, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal Adenocarcinoma and was told the only treatment available to him was palliative.  He began chemotherapy treatments, and for a short time, he had a better quality of life and was able to eat normally.  As a last resort, he tried cryo-ablation to reduce the size of the tumor in his esophagus so food and liquids could pass more easily. It worked a short time. 

But in December 2018, my Dad told me he felt he was losing his battle. In June of 2019 he passed away after a few days in hospice at 70 years young.  When he died, it felt like the sun went out.  His loss was the greatest pain I have ever felt.  It changed me forever.  I lost my dad, my friend, my hero. 

I am angry my dad will never meet my daughter or see any of her milestones.  He would have loved her so much!  My goal is that in the future nobody will miss an opportunity to become a first-time grandparent again.  Nobody should have to see their loved one go through this beast of a disease and suffer like my father did.

I feel a very strong connection to ECAN.  I was chair of the 2018 Steps to Save Lives 5K at Eisenhower Park, NY where my dad met ECAN’s CEO. It is now my turn to help spread awareness on a national level and advocate any way I can.  

My father’s battle will forever be my battle.  I know he would want me to keep fighting so others won’t have to! It is not only an honor, but a privilege, to serve as chair of the 2022 Steps to Save Lives Virtual 5K!

Fighting Esophageal Cancer ~ Saving Lives!

ECAN started its work with a burning desire: make Americans aware of the risk of Esophageal Cancer posed by persistent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (known as GERD).  

ECAN launched the first Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
effort in 2009 and since then, governments, businesses and other organizations throughout the nation have recognized April as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month year after year! 

Awareness in NOT ENOUGH.  That's why we are an ACTION Network.
We believe an effective battle to end this devastating disease must be fought on several levels. 

While we relentlessy raise awareness, we are also working to 

  • increase funding for research, and 
  • educate patients and families about their options for prevention, early detection, and treatment 

ECAN has successfully

  • led the charge for millions in additional federal research funding and 
  • become a trusted and reliable source of medical education for those at risk for Esophageal Cancer.

About Esophageal Cancer

Deadly: One 1 out of 5 patients diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer in the US will survive 5 years  | Esophageal Cancer is the #7 Cancer Killer of Men in the United States  | Most is discovered at late stages, when treatment is rarely successful.​

Most Often Caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Most EC in the US is Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (74%) caused by Reflux Disease  | Esophageal Adenocarcinoma increased 700% over the past 35 years in the U.S.  | Esophageal Adenocarcinoma is the fastest increasing cancer among American men  | Squamous Cell Carcinoma which is usually linked to smoking or drinking causes 26%.

Preventable: Barrett’s Esophagus is the only known precursor to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma  | Barrett’s Esophagus is caused by GERD, but the condition itself causes no symptoms  | Barrett’s Esophagus can be treated and eliminated, thereby preventing progression to Esophageal Cancer  | More than a Million Americans Estimated to be Unaware they Have Barrett’s Esophagus.

Largely Ignored: Lack of Awareness - Only 14% of Americans know that GERD can lead to cancer  | Lack of Screening - No Esophageal Cancer screening protocol in the U.S.  | Lack of Research Funding - Esophageal Cancer causes 2.6% of US cancer deaths, but receives just .5% of the Federal Cancer Research Budget.