AUGUSTA, Maine — From Los Angeles to Atlanta to Augusta, Free to Breathe event participants across the country will walk, run, stretch and tee off this year to make a difference in the lives of those affected by lung cancer.
The 1.6-mile third annual Free to Breathe event in Augusta begins with registration at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at City Center, 16 Cony St.
The registration fees and deadlines are $15 for online registration before Wednesday, Nov. 2, and $18 for mail-in registration, which must be received by Monday, Oct. 31.
Event day registration is $20. To register, donate, sponsor or volunteer for a Free to Breathe event, visit FreetoBreathe.org.
The walk will rally the community to create change and help defeat lung cancer, the leading cause of death among Mainers with cancer.
Despite the fact that lung cancer takes the lives of nearly 160,000 Americans each year, lung cancer research is underfunded compared with other major cancers, which has slowed the development of new treatments. In response, Free to Breathe supporters and participants are creating communities of hope by raising awareness of the disease and funds, which can fuel advances in detection and treatment and ultimately save lives.
Karen Goodman of Dover-Foxcroft is participating in this year’s event in support of her husband, Bill Goodman, 53, who began his battle with lung cancer in September 2010.
A healthy and active martial arts instructor, Bill believed he simply had injured himself while teaching a tae kwon do class, but what was thought to be a collapsed lung from a broken rib turned out to be lung cancer.
Karen reports her husband is doing very well. He travels to Illinois every three months for treatment, which has been very successful, and is on a chemotherapy pill.
“We are happy with his progress,” she said.
Because Bill was a nonsmoker who was healthy and active, Karen reminds us what this couple knows: “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.”
A teacher at SeDoMoCha Middle School in Dover-Foxcroft and a member of United Bikers of Maine, Karen said her motorcycle group raises funds for specific causes each year. This June, recognizing there is very little funding for lung cancer research, the group raised more than $2,500 during a ride to benefit five recipients in Piscataquis County who are battling lung cancer.
Then she heard about the Free to Breathe event and realized “this is just another avenue for me to help, and an easy way to help, too.”
Karen and a team of friends are raising money and you can find her on the Free to Breathe website.
All proceeds from Free to Breathe events help support the National Lung Cancer Partnership’s research, education and awareness programs.
“Free to Breathe is about putting one foot in front of the other to create change in the lives of those impacted by lung cancer,” said event organizer Deb Violette of Augusta.
The National Lung Cancer Partnership started the Free to Breathe event series with a single 5K run and walk in Philadelphia in 2006.
Since then, it has raised more than $3.6 million, with all of the net proceeds dedicated to making a difference for everyone affected by lung cancer and funding programs for change.
This year, 36 events across the country will unite thousands of families, friends, neighbors and co-workers, bringing hope to those touched by this deadly disease.
Those who cannot participate in a local event can join the National Walk Week — “Your Walk, Your Way, Your Day” Nov. 5-11.
Supporters can gather on sidewalks in neighborhoods, nearby parks or on streets in their towns to walk in spirit with others across the country who have joined the movement to defeat lung cancer.