On a bright and chilly Sunday morning, almost 2,000 people laced up for a 5K walk that many hope will help bring an end to lung cancer.
“My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, and she passed in August 2011,” said Sara Sidransky, a walk participant and committee member for Breathe Deep DC, a local event of the LUNGevity Foundation. “I’m here to support all of those who are honoring someone they’ve lost, and all the people who are walking for people who cannot be here today.”
According to the LUNGevity Foundation, one in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer at some point in their lifetime. Many of those will have never smoked.
Jerry Sorkin of Bethesda was not a smoker, but in 2007, we was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
“[It’s] a real misperception,” Sorkin said. “The majority of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer are either not smokers, or have quit smoking.”
As he recovered from the disease, he looked for ways people in the D.C. area raised money and awareness for lung cancer patients.
“There was no walk in DC, no black tie event – nothing,” Sorkin recounted. He and his friends worked to form Breathe Deep DC, and in just a year, they held their first walk in D.C. It’s been growing in participation every year.
“It’s much bigger that I ever would have imagined, because it touched a nerve. There’s a real need for it,” Sorkin explained.
According to LUNGevity’s website, since Breathe Deep DC began in 2009, it has raised more than $800,000 for lung cancer research.
“Research is so important, and imperative, for this disease … for early detection,” said Sidransky.
“We’re starting to make some progress; starting to really make a difference,” Sorkin said. “Now it’s getting some of the light that it deserves.”
NBC4 is a media sponsor of the 4th Annual Breathe Deep DC 5K Walk. Steam Team 4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer served as Master of Ceremonies for the event.