Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Free to Breathe

Posted November 5, 2009

What are you doing Saturday morning? I’d like you to join me on NCSU’s Centennial Campus for the 3rd annual Free to Breathe event. There is something for everyone – a 5K run/walk, a one mile run/walk and rally.

Free to Breathe was organized by a group of dedicated survivors, advocates and healthcare professionals. The goal is pretty simple: to raise awareness and research funding for lung cancer.

Here are some facts about lung cancer that may surprise you. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined. You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. Each year in this country lung cancer in people who have never smoked kills more people than AIDS. Every two minutes someone is diagnosed with the disease.

We’re expecting a crowd of close to 1,000 Saturday for the event presented by Duke Cancer Center Raleigh. It’s not too late to register. You can do so from 7:30-9:00 Saturday morning at 1099 Main Campus Drive. There will be a Survivors Breakfast at 7:45 and a special rally starting at 8:00. The one mile run/walk will begin at 9:00 with the 5K walk/run following at 9:30. Children under age six can compete in a Kids Dash at 10:30.

Please join us for a worthy cause Saturday morning, November 7. Tomorrow we’ll hear from a good friend who has fought lung cancer with courage, grace and dignity.

How about you? Do you have any personal stories about lung cancer? Please share.


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  • kristyaandrews Nov 6, 2009

    Justin's Fight Club will be there to support this very worthy cause and to spread his story that miracles DO HAPPEN! My husband, 29-year old Justin Andrews is the keynote speaker and I can't wait for everyone to hear his miracle story! There needs to be more funding for this deadly disease... Justin is simply one of the lucky ones! Due to his dramatic response and sensitivity to a particular treatment the love of my life and my young son's father is still here with us today... thank you, God! Funding makes it all possible! Please come out and take steps with us so there can be more survivors like Justin. See you all tomorrow!

  • CricketGayle Nov 6, 2009

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the event on Saturday due to prior obligations. I was really hoping to be there as the keynote speaker Saturday morning is my cousin, Justin Andrews. I'm not going to share his story here, as I know he will do a wonderful job presenting it this weekend. All I'll say is that Justin is a walking miracle. There is no other way to put it.

    Lung Cancer is prevalent in my family. My grandmother and my father both lost their lives to this horrible disease (neither were smokers). Though I can't be there in person on Saturday, I will be there in spirit and hope to make it next year.

  • thinknc Nov 5, 2009

    My father died from lung cancer 6 months after diagnosis. Though he was a heavy smoker, the type of cancer he had was believed to be associated with his exposure to asbestos while in the Navy in WWII. He died a month after I graduated from high school. He was a young 56. Two of his brothers later also died from the disease. Thanks to those who are working to help find ways to better treat, diagnose, and someday, prevent this terrible disease.

  • gymjudge Nov 5, 2009

    Brittany Coppedge was a lovely, accomplished gymnast in North Carolina. An athlete who at 19 was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She was the first non-smoker I knew to have lung cancer so you can imagine my surprise to find out how common it was! Although she died just three weeks later in 2006, the gymnastics community has not forgotten her! Come out and support this most worthy cause!

  • LMRA Nov 5, 2009

    I watched my Nana fight lung cancer for a little over a year. She was diagnosed in February of 1993 and died January 5, 1994. She was 82 and fought as hard as she could through radiation and then a relapse. She never would have survived chemo or surgery.

    I remember visiting her in the hospital the Sunday before she died. She was on oxygen and could hardly speak. She was my best friend. I think her funeral was the hardest thing I've lived through so far. I still miss her every day.

  • igottago2 Nov 5, 2009

    This group is doing fantastic work! I will be there as well, to honor my daughter --Brittany Elizabeth Coppedge, just 19 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Sadly, we lost Britt just three weeks later in December 2006. You can imagine the anger and frustration that comes with finding out the statistics on this disease and knowing that the general public only hears the basic "stop smoking" messages, even though tens of thousands of non-smokers die every year. FTB events are helping to change that and increase awareness to the desperate need for improved research. They are so far behind where they could be, and my daughter never had a chance because of it. Please come out on Saturday!

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