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Fighting the Good Fight Against Lung Cancer


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http://www.dailysentinel.com/opin/conte ... 08_jm.html

MORGAN: Fighting the good fight against lung cancer


The Daily Sentinel

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Katie Brown, co-founder and director of the Lung Cancer Support Community, contacted me with news that gave me a sense of pride.

Brown is coordinating the DFW walk for LUNGevity, Saturday, Nov. 1, at River Legacy Park in Arlington to help raise money for lung cancer research and support.

Thank you, Texas. What a great way for the Lone Star State to kick off Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

I first interviewed Brown in November 2006, when partnership between LCSC and LUNGevity became official. For years, the two organizations worked together indirectly.

LCSC encouraged its members to donate their fundraising dollars to LUNGevity for research. And LUNGevity posted its fundraising events on the LCSC Web site.

LUNGevity, founded in November 2000 by seven Chicago-area lung cancer survivors, works to save lives by funding medical research into the diagnosis, treatment and cure of lung cancer.

The foundation also provides emotional support for lung cancer survivors, their families and friends. That's where LCSC comes in.

During that interview with Brown, I learned that LCSC was formed in October 2002 when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. After his death, getting involved with lung cancer advocacy helped make his passing less sad, she said.

We commiserated. I told Brown I knew about LUNGevity and therefore LCSC through my cousin, Becky, a nonsmoker who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004.

When someone you love is diagnosed with that disease, research begins. Gathering information leads to some shocking discoveries.

In 2004, I learned that lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It still is. It kills more Americans each year than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined.

It kills more than three times as many men each year as prostate cancer. It kills more women each year than breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers combined. Yet funding for the disease is abysmal.

In 2007, approximately $1,633 was spent on research per lung cancer death, compared with: $13,471 per breast cancer death; $11,298 per prostate cancer death; and $4,774 per colorectal cancer death.

That makes no sense.

It is estimated that this year there will be approximately 215,020 new cases of lung cancer — 114,690 among men and 100,330 among women. That disease kills 84 percent of newly diagnosed patients within five years.

Enough said.

LCSC, an online resource and active support forum, now has more than 5,000 registered members and more than four million visitors a month. Its mission is to raise awareness and organize fundraisers for lung cancer research.

Rain or shine, registration for the DFW walk for LUNGevity begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Registration fee is $25. Children under 12 walk for free and will receive a T-shirt for $5 if they register.

For information or to get involved, contact Katie Brown at DFWwalk@lungevity.org. Call LUNGevity at 312-464- 0716. Or visit www.lcwalk.com.

Post script: My cousin, Becky, is doing very well. She is cancer-free. Please keep sending those thoughts and prayers her way. I'm heading to Chicago in a few weeks for LUNGevity's fall benefit.

Katie Brown will be there to receive the Kathleen Barmore Award. Named after one of LUNGevity's founders, the annual award is given to someone who has gone beyond the call of duty in the fight against lung cancer.

After all of our e-mails and conversations, I know Katie deserves that award. I look forward to congratulating her in person.

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