Colors of Courage 5K raises more than $30,000 for uninsured cancer patients

Saturday morning, more than 500 people packed into downtown Pikeville for Pikeville Medical Center's 5th Annual Colors of Courage 5K.
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -- Saturday morning, more than 500 people packed into downtown Pikeville for Pikeville Medical Center's 5th Annual Colors of Courage 5K.

All the proceeds will go to the uninsured Lenoard Lawson Cancer Center patients.

With the highs, lows, and everything in between, a race is like a journey.

"It's been a blessing to be able to be here," said Olieka Caudill.

Caudill is a breast cancer survivor. Within the last 10 months, to say she has been through a lot is an understatement.

"I've had three surgeries, 16 chemo treatments, 19 radiations, and three procedures," Caudill recalled.

Her journey began when she found a lump in one of her breasts.

"Went to the doctor thinking it was just a clogged milk duct, nothing big," said Caudill.

Sadly, that was not the case.

"So we went and done that and found out that I had triple-negative breast cancer," Caudill pointed out.

The news of her diagnosis turned her world upside down but what happened next is something she never expected.

"They found something suspicious. They did a biopsy and she had the exact same breast cancer that I had," Caudill recalled.

Now, her sister is undergoing treatment.

"But they caught her's in stage one. They caught her's early," said Caudill with tears in her eyes.

Her sister has three more chemo treatments to go and her treatment process is complete. She did not need to undergo radiation treatments because doctors caught the cancer in the early stages.

Caudill told WYMT, she is just thankful to be able to walk across the finish line. Not only for this 5K but with her treatments, too.

"It felt good because I didn't think one year ago there was a chance that I could have even been here," said Caudill.
"To know that I'm here and that I have so many people that loves me and supports me, it's wonderful."

Caudill's son was 5-months-old when she found the lump.

"I had always heard breastfeeding helps reduce your risk. I was breastfeeding when I found it," she recalled.

Caudill has one piece of advice for those thinking about seeking treatment.

"Even if you think, oh, it's nothing. Go get checked," Caudill said.

Race Director Amy Charles said at PMC, they understand the burden of high medical bills.

"We never want a patient to have to choose between if they can afford to fight cancer or pay their bills or feed their family," said Charles. "It really brings a smile to my face that they don't have to worry about financial challenges. They can focus on their recovery."

Outreach Coordinator Melissa Bentley said this 5K is a vital part of many patient's life.

"Without this, some of them would choose not to do treatment," said Bentley.

She told WYMT, they chose to make this 5K a color run for multiple reasons.

"We come out to celebrate every color of cancer. Cancer has many faces and many colors," she explained. "We splash you with the color to let you see that there are still bright and vibrant means to cancer."

The 5K raised more than $30,000 for uninsured cancer patients.