Jump to content

Ready to spread cancer awareness


Recommended Posts


Ready to spread cancer awareness


Evening Sun Reporter

Evening Sun

Article Launched:11/26/2006 07:59:47 AM EST

Lisa Lambert describes her late mother as an outgoing and determined "workaholic" who walked four miles a day, exercised and was in very good health.

So when Meligakes was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer at age 49, the family's world was turned upside-down.

"Certainly we were all flabbergasted at the diagnosis because she was a healthy young non-smoker," Lambert said.

Donna Meligakes of Gettysburg died Dec. 18, 2005 at age 51 of lung cancer.

Now, her family is working to bring a lung cancer charity walk to Gettysburg by next year.

"My main focus was just to bring awareness to people that this disease is not just for smokers and it needs more funding for research," said Lambert.

The 30-year-old Gettysburg resident hopes the walk will take place next November, the month designated each year as "Lung Cancer Awareness Month" by the American Cancer Society.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were 465 new cancer cases reported in Adams County in 2005. Of those, 71 were cases of lung cancer.

Nationwide, there have been 174,470 new cases of lung cancer reported so far in 2006.

John Held of the American Cancer Society said that about 90 percent of lung cancer cases are found in smokers, with the remaining 10 percent in non-smokers. Held said there are a number of reasons a non-smoker could develop lung cancer.

"(One reason is) if somebody works in a bar or restaurant or an environment where other people are smoking," Held said. "Other people are just genetically pre-disposed."

According to the American Cancer Society, exposure to asbestos or other chemicals are additional causes of lung cancer.

And Held said that although skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, lung cancer has the highest mortality rate.

But he said there is evidence that more people are trying to avoid the risks of lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society's free nationwide "quit line" received a record 1,441 calls during the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 16.

Lambert hopes that by starting a walk in Gettysburg, more people will contribute funds toward lung cancer research. She said all the money raised from next year's walk would be donated to the LUNGevity Foundation – the only organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to funding lung cancer research.

And more money is certainly needed to combat the disease.

Although her mother didn't smoke, Lambert said she has found comfort with other cancer victims and their families. She has participated in the Relay for Life the past three years, and recently traveled to a lung cancer charity walk in New Jersey.

"You read the statistics and they're gloomy and horrible, but I have been in touch with so many families that are still alive and fighting," Lambert said.

And despite the fact that Lambert is going the extra mile to raise funds for cancer research, watching her mother fight the disease was still a struggle in itself.

Doctors gave Meligakes nine months to live, but she fought on for two more years.

"It was very hard," Lambert said. "Throughout her illness, her husband and children took care of her. We were lucky we created a lot of memories in the amount of time that we had and cherished every day we had with her."

Contact Tim Pratt at tpratt@eveningsun.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.