Wednesday was a night for the "stars to go blue" at Ryman Auditorium. The "blue" was for colon cancer awareness.
Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) hosted the sold out music event that started at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Nashville and featured country music artists Alan Jackson and Craig Campbell.
Organizer Charlie Kelley told Nashville's News 2, "I knew I had some friends that had bigger podiums. We're just grateful we have people like Alan and the people who have done it in the past."
"With really big podiums," his wife, Nan, chimed in.
Kelley is a Grammy-nominated producer and musician.
He started the "Stars Go Blue" concert five years ago, just four months after a foot of his colon was removed due to colon cancer.
"The scariest part is when they wheel you away for surgery, and you're totally naked in bed surrounded by people," he said, "and you're like, 'This could go either way.'"
"He got into his hospital room, and for three days in his pain-killer induced haze, he kept saying, 'We have to help people,'" Nan recalled.
The annual concert is held in March, which is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal Cancer, or colon cancer, occurs in the colon or the rectum. There are usually no symptoms, and it can be deadly if it isn't caught early.
"It's the area of the body you don't want to talk about," said Denise Jackson, wife of country music superstar Alan Jackson.
The couple was forced to talk about it when Denise was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010.
"It's the worst thing I ever been through," said Alan. "I'd much rather I had it myself."
Alan and Denise agreed to be part of the concert, knowing all proceeds would benefit colon cancer patients through the Blue Note Fund.
"She just asked me to sing, and I couldn't say no to that," he said.
Denise interrupted and said, "It's important to him because I asked, and he knew he better not say no!"
Once Alan was on board, so was country newcomer Craig Campbell, but Alan wasn't the only draw.
Campbell's father died of colon cancer at age 36, when Campbell was just 11 years old.
"I wanted to do something specifically for colon cancer," he said. "So when I found out about this, yeah, I had my publicist call and ask, 'Hey, can I be a part of it?'"
With his family history, Campbell now has routine health check-ups, including scheduled colonoscopies.
His performance Wednesday night was about encouraging others to do the same.
On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 20, or five percent.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 people in the U.S. will die from colon cancer this year. Early detection is key for treatment and survival.
There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors alive in the U.S.
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