KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, ORAU hosted an awareness event, featuring Nolan the Rollin’ Colon.

Nolan is a 10-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide inflatable tunnel shaped like part of the the large intestine. Guests who visit Nolan get the chance to get up close and personal with diseased tissue exhibits.

Inside the Rollin’ Colon, visitors can see examples of colon cancer, metastatic colon cancer, Chron’s disease, polyps and malignant polyps.

Michael Holtz, senior communications and marketing specialist for ORAU, sat down with WATE to explain the importance of screenings and education about colorectal cancer. Holtz is also a national ambassador for Fight Colorectal Cancer.

“March is national colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to draw attention to colorectal cancer, which is on track to be the number one cancer killer of people under the age of 50 by the year 2030. So we’re talking in seven years right now, colorectal cancer is the #2 cancer killer, but it’s going to move up and we’re seeing people get diagnosed at younger and younger ages. Young people are dying of colorectal cancer. It’s time to do something about colorectal cancer and an event like this to raise awareness about colorectal health and the importance of screening of screening is personally really important to me. ” Holtz said.

As a an 11-year survivor of colorectal cancer, Holtz shared that he was diagnosed with the cancer because of a colonoscopy when he was 43.

“One of the one of the things that I keep talking about is you know, we have to normalize talking about our colons. We have to normalize talking about our bathroom habits. Nobody wants to get a colonoscopy, I understand that, Holtz said. “You know, the prep is not easy. It’s an invasive procedure, but it’s life saving and a colonoscopy saved my life. I tell people I would do the prep every day of my life to never hear the words you have cancer ever again. “

Eric Mayer, CEO of EDP Biotech, also spoke at the event. A release states that EDP Biotech a Knoxville-based laboratory working to develop a blood test for colorectal cancer, and Mayer shared remarks on the work his company is doing.

Nolan the Rollin’ Colon is provided by Knoxville-based United Cancer Support Foundation, according to a press release about the event. The non-profit offers support programs for people diagnosed with cancers and education about cancer prevention.