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Golf Tournament Helps St. Luke's MSTI Prevent Colon Cancer

By Ken Dey, News and Community
May 27, 2011

-- Now in its 11th year, the Brian Olson Memorial Golf Tournament has generated more than $330,000 for Colon Cancer Prevention --

Boise – On Friday, June 3, more than 100 golfers came together for the 11th annual Brian Olson Memorial Golf Tournament.

At the conclusion of the tournament, a check for $28,000 was presented to St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI).

Since its inception in 2001, the event has raised more than $300,000 for St. Luke’s MSTI to help prevent colon cancer.

Brian Olson died in 2001 at the age of 39 from colorectal cancer, leaving behind a wife and two young sons. Olson was a long-time employee at Hewlett-Packard and very active in the community.

After his death, many of his colleagues at HP and friends in the community banded together to start the tournament.

The tournament is now one of the largest third-party fundraising events for St. Luke’s MSTI.

Proceeds from the tournament are used to help pay for the distribution of free colon cancer screening kits at educational event throughout Idaho. Since October 2008, St. Luke’s has distributed over 13,000 kits.

Screening kits, which detect blood in fecal matter, are only a starting point to determining if someone is at risk for colon cancer.

Accurately detecting colon cancer requires a screening colonoscopy, but many patients don’t have the financial ability to pay for a screening, so money raised from the tournament also helps cover the cost of screening for those who can’t afford it.

Since October 2008, St. Luke’s has provided 100 certificates to cover the cost of a colonoscopy.

Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum become abnormal and divide without control, forming a mass called a tumor.

Colorectal cancer cells may also invade and destroy the tissue around them. In addition, they may break away from the tumor and spread to form new tumors in other parts of the body.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men and women.  It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer.

The good news is the rate of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths is decreasing in this country in part because of a greater emphasis on screening. However, the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the year 2005 found that:

  • 72,007 men and 69,398 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
  • 26,781 men and 26,224 women died from colorectal cancer.
Warning signs are:
  • Change in bowel habits; constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than two weeks.
  • Feeling that the bowel does not empty.
  • Bright red or very dark blood in the stool; black stools.
  • Stools that look narrower or thinner than normal.
  • Abdominal discomfort; frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Unexplained anemia.
To find out more about colorectal cancer visit

Editor’s Note: Advance interviews with the family, tournament organizers and St. Luke’s physicians are available. After the tournament, a check presentation will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, June 3, at the Banbury Golf Club patio. Media is invited to attend and interviews will be arranged at this time with hospital administrators, physicians, Brian’s family members, players, and event volunteers.

For more information contact:

Doug Cole, (208) 841-4300 or

About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.