CLEVELAND (WJW) – Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., killing more than 51,000 people a year, according to medical resources.

The Cleveland Walk to End Colon Cancer took place Sunday on the East Bank in the Flats.

Cleveland Clinic doctor Stefan Holubar, MD, MS, was one of the participants. He’s the Director of Research for the Department of Colorectal Bowel Surgery and the Inflammatory Disease Section Chief at the Clinic, but why he’s really walking is personal.

“I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was 7 years old. During medical school, I had a colon cancer stage 3. I had to have emergency surgery followed by chemotherapy,” Holubar told FOX 8.

Sunday’s walk included about 550 people. Holubar said about half are survivors and the others are medical staff who have seen colon cancer up close.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, colorectal cancer occurs when the cells that line the colon or the rectum become abnormal and grow out of control. Screenings are to catch cancer before it advances.

Holubar says one of his missions is to make people aware of how important those screenings can be.

“I’ve tried to be a patient advocate and very involved in increasing awareness of the importance of getting colonoscopies in particular,” he said.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance says Sunday’s event raised more than $52,000.