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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Making a Difference in Memory of Dad for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Last month marked the 4th year that my father has not been here to celebrate his birthday… Now, don't get me wrong; Dad was never a fan of making a big fuss in regards to birthdays, but he did like to recognize that day each year. It's an injustice that Dad's life got cut short, and I do not want anyone else to face that same kind of loss. You see, the statistics regarding lung cancer are very troubling…

- Lung cancer is the #1 cancer-killer of American women and men, taking more lives than colorectal, breast, pancreatic, kidney and lymphoma cancers COMBINED.

- Only 16% of lung cancer patients survive 5 or more years after diagnosis, compared with 89% of breast cancer patients and 99% of prostate cancer patients.

- Lung cancer takes the lives of almost twice as many women when compared to breast cancer and three times as many men when compared to pancreatic cancer.

- Of those diagnosed with lung cancer, 15-20% have never smoked while 50% are former smokers, many of whom quit smoking decades before diagnosis… Only 30-35% of lung cancer patients were current smokers when they were diagnosed.

- 1 in every 3 Americans has been touched by lung cancer, either with his / her own diagnosis or by losing a loved one to this horrible disease.

- North Carolina ranks 9th out of all states for deaths attributed to lung cancer… 8,559 North Carolinians are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer this year; however, together, there's always something we can do to make a difference.

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and, in an effort to change the aforementioned statistics, there are many events planned to increase awareness and raise much-needed research funds. Last weekend was the Lung Cancer Initiative Run, Walk and Rally in Greensboro, NC, for which I was the event chairperson. Each year, this fun and exciting event gives all of us the opportunity to increase awareness about lung cancer, build a kinship with lung cancer survivors, friends and family members that have all been affected by this disease, and, very importantly, raise much-needed funds for lung cancer research, education & access to treatment.

I am very excited to report that this year's Lung Cancer Initiative Run, Walk and Rally had over 720 participants who have raised over $109,000 thus far, although fundraising continues through Tuesday, December 31st. Together, we truly are making a difference. There is power in numbers, and the involvement of each individual who attended or donated towards this cause is very important. On behalf of myself and everyone that worked to plan this year's Lung Cancer Initiative Run, Walk and Rally, I send out a HUGE thank you... The Lung Cancer Initiative Run, Walk and Rally of Greensboro has the most wonderful planning team, filled with non-paid volunteers who work tirelessly all year long to create an event that is both enjoyable and successfully supports our mission to "decrease deaths and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina"… This event is truly a labor of love for everyone involved. And, with the support of our planning team volunteers, event day volunteers from UNCG, motivated donors and event participants, we can save lives and will absolutely continue to make a difference!

If you, too, want to help with #FightLungCancer2013, feel free to make a tax-deductible donation at or learn more at, reviewing the "lung cancer facts", "lung cancer screening info" and "resources" under "lung cancer info" from the page's header. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer so it's vital to know the symptoms, be aware of what's happening with your body and seek assistance if you feel like something is out of whack. Early detection makes treatment so much more effective!

Before reading this blog post, if someone had asked you about which cancer took the lives of more women than any other, would you have guessed lung cancer? Likewise, before reading this blog post, would you have guessed that lung cancer takes the lives of more men than any other cancer? There is so much power in knowledge so please pass this information along.
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