Greenville, S.C. – Major League pitchers firing 90 mph fastballs rarely caught Eric Davis off guard. It took a diagnosis from a physician to do that.
Davis, the former Major League Baseball All Star and colon cancer survivor, will visit Greenville, S.C., the weekend of April 30-May 1 to help BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and other organizations raise awareness of colon cancer and educate South Carolinians about the importance of screenings and early detection.
“I am living proof that early detection of colon cancer saves lives,” said Davis, now 48. “I hope my experience will inspire others to get screened and to encourage their friends and family members to do the same.”
Davis will cap BlueCross’ “Drive Out Colon Cancer Weekend” by attending the Greenville Drive’s baseball game against the Asheville Tourists at Fluor Field on Sunday, May 1. Davis will sign a limited number of autographs at the 4 p.m. game, throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and speak to fans about colon cancer screenings. The Drive will don special blue jerseys (blue is the “color” for colon cancer), and the blue bases used for the game will be auctioned off.
Davis will kick off the weekend on Saturday, April 30, by speaking at the “Shop Talk to Drive Out Colon Cancer” family fun event at Long Branch Baptist Church, located at 28 Bolt St. in Greenville. The 2 p.m. event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, includes free haircuts by local barbers and stylists, events for children, live music, and information provided by physicians with Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. Shop Talk Movement is a South Carolina awareness campaign that encourages barbers and hair stylists to speak to customers about being screened for colon cancer.
Davis starred with the Cincinnati Reds and five other teams during a 17-year Major League career that included the 1990 World Series championship. His career was interrupted when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997, but he was treated successfully and returned to baseball.
The S.C. Gastroenterology Association, the Center for Colon Cancer Research at the University of South Carolina and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System are participating in the weekend events, along with BlueCross, Gastroenterology Associates, P.A., the American Cancer Society and the Greenville Drive.
“We appreciate so much what Eric Davis has done for colon cancer research and education through his foundation, and we are excited to have him in Greenville for our Drive Out Colon Cancer Weekend,” said Dr. Laura Long, BlueCross’ vice president of clinical quality and health management. “Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in South Carolina, but many of these deaths can be prevented through screenings and early detection.”
Long said everyone should be screened at age 50, and those with a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors should be screened even earlier.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 40 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health program and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.