"It is a perfect way to get attention for the cause," he added. "I promised my Linda I'd do whatever it took."
Vandeveer's wife, Linda, died in late September of cancer. The disease began in her colon and spread to other parts of her body.
If Linda had gotten a colonoscopy 10 years ago, she likely would be alive today, said Vandeveer, who with his late wife have been leaders in the creation and maintenance of the Allen County Law Enforcement/Firefighters Memorial on North Wells Street.
Before she died, Linda made him promise he would get a colonoscopy, he said. He did, and the doctor removed seven benign polyps. He has to go back in this month to have two more removed.
Jerry Vandeveer has started a Facebook page, Colonoscopy the Gift of Life at https://www.facebook.com/Colonoscopies, to encourage more people to join what he calls "the movement." So far, 45 people have said they have had a colonoscopy since Jan. 1, and he has sent a "Badge of Courage and Honor" to those living in Allen County who have given him their contact information.
He also has paid for a series of 15 billboards promoting the colonoscopy cause to run now through July around Fort Wayne, with at least two billboards on display at any given time, he said.
Vandeveer said he also plans to make more appearances with the rooster. But he's having a new sign made for it: "Don't be a chicken. Get a colonoscopy."
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To learn more about Jerry Vandeveer's colon cancer prevention efforts and his "Badge of Courage and Honor" program, go on Facebook to Colonoscopy the Gift of Life at https://www.facebook.com/Colonoscopies.