NOLA Bluedoo Fest – Raising Awareness and Funds for Prostate Cancer Research New Orleans-Style

By: Melanie Cross

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

And right here in Louisiana over 400 men – our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons – will die this year from this disease.

NOLA Bluedoo – the ONLY prostate cancer event of its kind in our area – aims to change these statistics.

“Bluedoo started six years ago with the idea that we could raise funds for prostate cancer research and honor those men with prostate cancer, while also having a bit of New Orleans-style fun,” said Dr. Oliver Sartor, Tulane Cancer Center Medical Director and head of Tulane’s Prostate Cancer Research Program.

The original organizing committee for the event consisted of a handful of supporters who were driven by this mission. Some were Dr. Sartor’s patients; some were the widows of patients who had lost hard-fought battles; and some were community members who simply wanted to do something tangible to make a difference in the health and lives of Louisiana’s men.

In the years since, this festival-style fundraiser, which combines funky New Orleans music, a generous menu of complimentary food from top restaurants and caterers, free drinks, a two-mile walk/run and other entertainment, has raised over $750,000 for prostate cancer research.

Just as important, it has helped to raise awareness among men – and the families who love them – of the importance of early detection and of being proactive when it comes to their prostate health.

“Think of all the pink you see throughout the community in October,” said Dr. Sartor.  “Breast cancer awareness advocates are front and center every year, encouraging both breast cancer screening and promoting the type of research that helps to save lives. These are incredibly important messages.”

But September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month and despite the fact that one in nine men will be diagnosed with this disease, we don’t typically see the same level of publicity or enthusiasm for raising awareness around this cause.

“Our hope from the start was that Bluedoo would be a catalyst for change,” said Dr. Sartor.  “We want this event, and all the quirky New Orleans-style fun that goes along with it, to also help raise awareness for prostate cancer screening and prostate cancer research.”

This year’s event – the 6th Annual NOLA Bluedoo – will rock Tulane University’s Uptown Campus on Saturday, September 21st.  The fest kicks off at 5 PM, with a two-mile walk/run – part of New Orleans Track Club’s (NOTC) Grand Prix Circuit – beneath the picturesque oaks.

Once the race begins, so does the party! Over 30 food and drink tents will begin serving up healthy portions of New Orleans favorites – jambalaya, red beans and rice, shrimp and artichoke casserole and the list goes on!

This year, Deacon John & The Ivories will rock the Bluedoo stage as so many quintessential New Orleans performers – Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Wendell Brunious, George Porter, Brian Stoltz and the incomparable Allen Toussaint – have done before.  The Kids’ Tent – now named in honor of Rodney Coco, a beloved former NOLA Bluedoo organizing committee member and patient of Dr. Sartor’s – will provide plenty of activities to keep little ones happy, and because no proper New Orleans-style event would be complete without costuming, attendees are encouraged to costume in blue – the color of prostate cancer awareness.
Also, new this year is a raffle to win a GMC Canyon pickup truck. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased in advance at
www.pickuptruckforthecure.org or onsite at the event.

Proceeds from NOLA Bluedoo will benefit Dr. Sartor’s prostate cancer research program at Tulane Medical School. In addition to his clinical practice – Dr. Sartor sees approximately 1,300 patients from 26 states and seven foreign countries – he also collaborates globally and has played a role in the development of five of the seven most recently approved drugs for the treatment of advanced disease.

“We invite everyone to grab their best blue running or dancing shoes and join us at Tulane’s Uptown Campus on September 21st,” said Dr. Sartor.

A $25 Festival Pass allows access to the celebration, including all the food, beer, drinks and entertainment. To purchase your festival pass, please visit www.nolabluedoo.org and click on “How to Help.” Festival passes and pickup truck raffle tickets directly benefit prostate cancer research at Tulane Cancer Center. A portion of the proceeds from race registrations benefit prostate cancer research.

In conjunction with Bluedoo, Dr. Oliver Sartor will also host a community seminar on the latest advancements in prostate cancer research, treatment and diagnosis at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 17th, in the first-floor conference room of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center, 1700 Tulane Ave., in New Orleans.

The lecture, which is free and open to anyone interested, is intended to help prostate cancer patients, their caregivers, those with a family history of the disease, physicians and healthcare providers learn more about the disease and treatment options. Light refreshments will be served, and complimentary parking is available in the building’s garage, accessible from S. Derbigny Street.

Seating is limited for the seminar, and RSVP is requested but not required. For more information or to RSVP for the free seminar, please call 504-988-6592 or email mcross@tulane.edu.

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