Lung Cancer Community to Gather on National Mall for LUNGevity's Fourth Annual Breathe Deep DC Walk to Fight Lung Cancer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Victoria Shapiro
vshapiro@susandavis.com
(202) 414-0774

NEWS4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer to emcee

WASHINGTON (October 23,2012) – Hundreds of people whose lives have been impacted by lung cancer will come together Sunday, November 4, 2012 on the National Mall for LUNGevity’s fourth annual Breathe Deep DC 5 k walk, the largest event in the area for those impacted by the disease. Breathe Deep DC provides the lung cancer community a place to share, hope and heal, as it raises awareness for the disease and funds for research seeking early detection and more effective treatments. Event day check-in starts at 9 a.m. at the Washington Monument grounds at the Sylvan Theater; program begins at 9:30 a.m. and the walk kicks-off at 10 a.m. – rain or shine. LUNGevity is the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit, and Breathe Deep DC is one of 13 LUNGevity Breathe Deep events happening across the country during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Bethesda, Md. resident Jerry Sorkin, a young father of two, who as a nonsmoker was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2007 conceived of Breathe Deep DC, noting the lack of community building experiences for those impacted. He is again chairing the event which has raised nearly $1,000,000 for lung cancer research in its three year existence.

NEWS4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer, whose family has been impacted by lung cancer, will emcee the walk’s program for the second year and join in the walk. Also for the second year, the Walter Johnson High School Concert Choir will participate in the program, in memory of 16 year old chorus member Margot Cohen’s mother. Margot’s mother lost her battle with stage IV lung cancer last July.

“When I started this walk four years ago, there were no D.C. area community events to help lung cancer survivors and their loved ones,” said Jerry Sorkin. “It’s heartening to see this walk grow every year, as more lung cancer survivors and those affected by the disease join. The funds we raise here are going into research that is giving the lung cancer community hope.”

The walk will also feature a kid’s tent, where children can participate in a variety of fun activities, such as face painting and an obstacle course. Dogs are welcome and encouraged to come. The first 125 dogs accompanied by owners will receive a special “I’m Fur a Cure” dog t-shirt.

“It is crucial that the lung cancer community comes together, tells their stories and supports one another and critical research,” said LUNGevity Foundation President Andrea Stern Ferris. “Every day, scientists are learning more and more about those who are diagnosed with the disease, smokers and nonsmokers alike. We’re in a place where progress in research is giving all of us a reason to be hopeful.

Lung cancer takes more lives annually than breast, prostate, colon, and pancreatic cancers combined. In fact, with one in 14 Americans diagnosed in his or her lifetime, the number of people who die from lung cancer is equal to having a jumbo jet fall from the sky every single day. More than half the people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or have already quit smoking.  There is no widely available and cost effective early diagnostic test, and only 16 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive five or more years post-diagnosis.

Community members participating:

Gaithersburg, Md. resident Valerie Beckett lost her husband John to stage IV lung cancer January 15, 2012. He was the love of her life. Always active in the community, John learned about LUNGevity when he was searching for opportunities to help raise awareness for the disease, and the two walked in last year’s Breathe Deep DC. John planned to become more involved with LUNGevity when he got better, but sadly the disease spread and quickly took his life. Valerie, John’s sisters and friends are walking in his honor on team Johnny's Earth Angels, to help raise funds for research and spread awareness of the disease. “John would have wanted it,” said Valerie.

Breathe Deep DC Committee Member, Arlington, Va. resident Sara Sidransky lost her mother to lung cancer in August 2011. “My mom was a bright, energetic and seemingly healthy 53-year-old woman. I never knew that nonsmokers could develop lung cancer until she was diagnosed in 2010,” said Sidransky. “Unfortunately by the time the doctors caught it, the disease had metastasized extensively to the liver, bones, spinal cord and brain.” Sara, family and friends are walking on Team Sidransky in her mother’s honor.

Fayetteville, Pa. resident Lauren Wicks, lost both parents to lung cancer. She recalls her father connecting with Jerry Sorkin at the 2009 walk, and cutting the survivor ribbon to start the walk. She says, “I had no idea how prevalent the disease was, or that the prognosis was so poor, or that you don’t have to smoke to be at risk, and that early detection almost doesn’t exist. We have an obligation as human beings to figure this out. One life lost is one too many.”

Michael Osborne of Columbia, Md. is a stage IV lung cancer survivor. He was diagnosed in 2008, after the results of a chest x-ray for an earlier surgery revealed a large tumor. He went through two surgeries, including the lobectomy of his upper right lung, and rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. In January 2009, he was pronounced lung cancer free. However, it was recommended he undergo three weeks of prophylactic brain radiation in case the cancer had spread without being detected. Almost five years later, Michael is doing well, thanks to the aggressive treatment of his disease. He is planning a Breathe Deep event in Columbia, Md. for April 20, 2013. He and his family have been participating in Breathe Deep DC since 2009.

Breathe Deep DC is made possible through the support of sponsors such as CEB (Presenting Sponsor) and Everything but Water (Diamond Sponsor)

Follow Breathe Deep DC online at facebook.com/lungevitydcwalk and twitter.com/breathedeepdc

What:             LUNGevity’s Breathe Deep DC 5K Walk

Where:            National Mall

When:             Sunday, November 4, 2012

                   *Check-in: 9 am              
                   *Program begins: 9:30 am
                   *Walk begins: 10 am                                                                              

For more information: Please visit, www.lungevity.org/DC

  • To coordinate interviews with LUNGevity spokespersons and walk participants, please contact Victoria Shapiro:  202-414-0774 (office); 216-712-1926 (cell) or email, vshapiro@susandavis.com

About LUNGevity Foundation

The mission of LUNGevity Foundation is to have a meaningful impact on improving lung cancer survival rates, ensure a higher quality of life for lung cancer patients and provide a community for those impacted by lung cancer. It does so by supporting critical research into the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, as well as by providing information, resources and a support community to patients and caregivers.  

LUNGevity seeks to inspire the nation to commit to ending lung cancer.

For more information about the grants or LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.lungevity.org.

About Lung Cancer

  • 1 in 14 Americans is diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, regardless of gender or ethnicity
  • Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer and more than three times as many men as prostate cancer
  • About 55% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
  • Only 16% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically