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

About Virtual Steps to Save Lives April 2022

In an age of the continuing pandemic, ECAN can't host the series of in-person 5K events we held prior to February 2020.  


Our April 2022 Steps to Save Lives Virtual 5K Run, Walk or Roll will be a fun 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 much-needed 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 together in this fight!  We have prizes for reaching various fundraising milestones and very cool ones for the individual and team that raises the most!​

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 arrival by April 24th for those who register by March 24th.

WHEN: You can cover the distance at any time between Sunday, April 24th at 8 am EST until Sunday, May 1st at 8 am.  We will kick off this special week with our online opening ceremonies at 8 am on Sunday, April 24th. For competitive runners, we are using an honor system, so you’ll just enter your time through our online form any time from April 24th – May 1st 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. And the men and women who have the top three times overall will also get special awards.  Those winners will be announced during our online closing ceremony at 3 pm on Sunday, May 1st.

WHERE: Any location that is convenient for you!

WHEN: You can cover the distance at any time between Sunday, April 24th at 8 am EST until Sunday, May 1st at 8 am.

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 of 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!

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!

Once you've completed your race, enter your time HERE before 8 am on May 1st, 2022.


Starts at:  April 24, 2022 7:00 AM
Ends at:  May 1, 2022 7:00 AM


, USA - or anywhere in the world!


Madisen Salls


A Message from James & Samantha:

On May 24th, 2021, we lost our beloved father to Esophageal Cancer. Having had numerous relatives, and even one close college-aged friend, succumb to the disease, we have always known the devastation cancer can cause. However, this latest run-in reminded once again of cancer’s innate ferociousness.

When our father was diagnosed with late-stage Esophageal Cancer in November of 2019, we were not disillusioned by the uphill battle he faced. However, we could never have predicted the additional challenges brought upon by COVID. Lockdown procedures caused him to spend nearly a dozen weeks in the hospital without visitors, forcing him to confront the reality of his illness alone. Matters were complicated further when he contracted Coronavirus. Needless to say, we know too well the unique distress of families impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

As for his specific bout with cancer, its origins were likely a combination of multiple factors: mismanaged reflux, exposure to carcinogens during the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and lifestyle choices. That is why we feel compelled to support efforts to raise awareness, encouraging those at risk to become educated and remain vigilant.

Throughout his 18-month battle, he withstood torturous surgeries and treatments. Every time he faced a new hardship, he made sure to remind us that his strong will to live was in service to the two of us, wanting to ensure he left his mark as a “proud and loving father.”

We are immensely grateful to ECAN for the opportunity to be co-chairs of this signature event. Throughout our dad’s battle, we often relied upon ECAN’s various social media accounts for guidance and solace – in fact, it was through ECAN that we first learned about the disproportionate number of World Trade Center survivors that have been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, prompting us to engage the 9/11 Victim Compensations Fund.

The timing of the 2022 Steps to Save Lives Virtual 5K has particular significance for the two of us, as it lands directly between what would have been our father’s 60th birthday and the one-year anniversary of his passing. This makes us even more galvanized to help deliver a successful event in support of ECAN, raising awareness and fueling the fight to end Esophageal Cancer – all in honor of our father, Michael Jay Konigsberg.

Dad – We love and miss you each and every day. More than anything, we hope that we continue to make you proud.

Fighting Esophageal Cancer ~ Saving Lives!

ECAN started with the primary goal to raise awareness 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! 

But we know an effective battle with this devastating disease must be fought on several levels.  While increased awareness remains a primary focus, working to increase funding for research and educating patients about their options for prevention, early detection, and treatment has become a priority.  ECAN has successfully led the charge for millions in additional federal research funding and has become a trusted and reliable source for the latest in medical research affecting 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.