On a mission to make surviving lung cancer the expectation, not the exception, hundreds of people are gearing up for the Free To Breathe 5k Run\Walk presented by Korum Automotive Group on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Wright Park in Tacoma. All proceeds from the event support Free to Breathe, a lung cancer research and advocacy organization dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by 2022.
Mike Clark lost his father, Charles, to lung cancer in 1989 and his brother, Brian, in 2013. “So we’re not just running for my brother and my father, we’re running for those that are suffering this disease as well as the survivors that are out there,” said Clark who has his father’s trademark smile.
Sean Lizama's father is one of those survivors. He has been training for the 5k and is running for his dad. “Watching him fight this, I learned what true perseverance is and true faith is,” he said. Both men are urging people to sign up for the event. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the world but new drugs are improving the fight.
Cathy Schrock's best friend, Lynn Osborne, died from the disease though she fought it to the end because of new drugs. "She was in a clinical trial and at one point in her battle, had a 100 percent response to that drug," said Schrock, who will be participating in her seventh Free to Breathe 5k. Lynn never smoked, but Schrock is united with Clark and Lizama in the belief that every person with lung cancer deserves a cure. "Even if people smoked, they deserve the same chance to fight for their life and their survival just like anybody else does," said Lizama.
He and Clark want you to make sure you know your family history, because both had aunts with lung cancer. "If one out of every three people is affected by this disease, then we’re all connected by this disease," said Lizama.
Community members, teams and local businesses came together during the 2014 Tacoma Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk to raise over $61,500 for a disease that touches over 224,000 newly diagnosed patients each year. Event chairs hope to reach their goal of $72,000 this year, which will go a long way in supporting lung cancer research and educational programs.
The 5K Run/Walk will be the main focus at this year’s enlivening event. Prize drawings will accompany an already invigorating day that the entire family can enjoy. Special recognition will be given to top finishers and fundraising heroes. To sign up, visit www.freetobreathe.org/tacoma. Those who aren’t able to attend still have an enormous impact by registering and fundraising as a virtual walker. Or, those who wish to create their own unique fundraiser can access tools from Free to Breathe that will help turn any passion into a custom fundraising opportunity. The possibilities are endless, but the end result is certain – improving the lives of everyone affected by lung cancer. To get started today, visit www.freetobreathe.org/community-fundraising.