I first got involved with LUNGevity in early 2013. My husband had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and I was looking to participate in a walk to raise the much needed funds for research.
I chose to work with LUNGevity because I saw that they had many walk/runs throughout the country. Prior to my husband's diagnosis I didn't know much about lung cancer and like most people believed it was unlikely to ever touch my life as we both have never smoked. After his diagnosis I learned that it's the deadliest of all cancers yet the least funded. And LUNGevity is one of the very few that focuses on lung cancer specifically.
I contacted LUNGevity asking if they had a walk in my area - Albany, NY. I first spoke with Diana Aldecoa, the Vice President of Breathe Deep Events, and she indicated that the closest was Syracuse and asked if I was interested in starting one. I organized the first Breathe Deep Albany that year.
I believe Breathe Deep Albany has been growing steadily in terms of participation and money raised over the last four years. It's been a welcome and much needed event in our community to support those bravely dealing with this disease. It's been a way for survivors to support each other and spread the word about lung cancer. It's a place for those who have lost someone to remember them and raise money in their memory to help those living with the disease and hopefully to find a cure so others don't have to go through what their loved one had to endure.
I know Breathe Deep Albany is very much appreciated and supported by NYOH (New York Oncology Hematology). My husband's oncologist has been a lung cancer specialist for many years in this area and has said that this event has been needed in the community.
I'm proud that we've built this event up year by year. The first year we raised $15,000, second year $22,000, third year $25,000 and this past year nearly $43,000. That's over $100,000 raised in our little community. I'm always very proud on event day when everything comes together. The program we hold before the walk is inspiring. We hear from brave survivors who are willing to tell their stories and the remarkable doctors in the area telling us all the new developments on the horizon.
I hope our fundraising efforts raise enough money to find a cure or at least the next line of defense in terms of meds. I'd also like to see a test developed to detect lung cancer earlier for everyone so that it becomes routine like mammograms.