Awareness ride

Phillip Fulmer leads cyclists on trek for better health

Men are notorious for refusing to ask for directions and see a doctor. At the first annual Man Ride, they didn’t need directions and many of them were prompted to get an important medical exam.

On Aug. 14, over 100 men and women motorcyclists participated in a 2-hour ride with former UT head football coach Phillip Fulmer. The following Saturday, approximately 60 men received digital prostrate cancer screenings, which were offered at no cost by the University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute.

“Men and women who typically aren’t diligent about visiting the doctor were able to venture out and be out there in support of men’s health,” said Jim Ragonese, public relations manager for UT Medical Center.

In a press release, Dr. Fred Klein, a urologist at UT Medical Center, said, “One in six men will be diagnosed with prostrate cancer during his lifetime.”

Ragonese said the event was initiated by prostate cancer survivor Bob Spining and his wife, Jackie. “He wanted to do something that would reach men (ages) 50 and over,” Ragonese said.

Spining collaborated with Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and contacted Fulmer to help. “Phillip Fulmer was a draw for a lot of people,” Ragonese said. “He’s not just a celebrity because he cares about the cause and has a real passion for helping others.”

Ragonese said the UT Medical Center, Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and Fulmer are planning to make the Man Ride an annual event.

The spokesman said nine out of 10 men who are diagnosed with early prostate cancer and receive treatment survive the illness.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute is offering more free screenings for men ages 50 and older and those 45 and above who are African-American and have a family history.

For more information on additional free screenings, visit the website http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/NewsDetails.asp?ID=1935 . Participants should call for an appointment at 1-877-UTCARES (1-877-882-2737).

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