Hundreds of local residents are joining forces to fight lung cancer, united in the belief that surviving lung cancer should be the expectation, not the exception. These everyday superheroes will be meeting at the Nashville Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk and 1-mile Walk presented by Sarah Cannon Research Institute at Tennessee Oncology on Saturday, April 16 at Shelby Bottom Park (1900 Davidson Street, Nashville, TN 37206). All proceeds from the event support Free to Breathe, a lung cancer research and advocacy organization dedicated to doubling lung cancer survival by 2022.
But for one Brentwood resident, it’s personal. Ron Hollis was diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocarcinoma of the Lung in August of 2014. With the disease being that advanced, initial treatment options were limited to “tried and true” chemotherapy. Fortunately for Hollis, it worked well enough for him to go into remission by Thanksgiving of that year. At that point, his doctor began discussing radiation therapy as an option to fight the cancer even harder. With Hollis being young and in pretty good health otherwise, so they worked with the radiation oncologist to formulate a personal plan. And the good news – the radiation worked extremely well.Hollis is winning the cancer war and the prognosis is strong.
It’s easy to join the ranks of these lung cancer heroes like Hollis. Simply register, raise funds, and run or walk. “By fundraising and joining us on event day, you are bringing hope to those touched by the disease,” said volunteer event chair Kristy Blackford of Nashville. “More treatment options are needed, and the innovative research we’re funding can help ensure everyone diagnosed with the disease has a fighting chance.”
“I am one of the lucky ones. I’m in year 2 of my battle against lung cancer and, if you saw me walking down the street, you’d have no idea that I had even been touched by cancer personally. Because of my journey and because I had a survivor-mentor to “show me the ropes” when I was diagnosed, I feel a responsibility to help those who are newly diagnosed. I understand where they are, I can talk about the battle personally, and I want to use Free to Breathe as a vehicle to offer them real hope,” said Hollis.
The Free to Breathe events community has raised over $14 million to support groundbreaking research and educational programs since 2005. This year the organization will be funding two new lung cancer research grants totaling over $1.2 million dollars. And if you need a reason to get involved,read what Hollis has to say.
“If you’ve been diagnosed or if you know someone who’s been diagnosed with lung cancer, please join us on April 16th as we continue to fight to find a way to double the 5-year survival rates by 2022. Right now, it’s at 17% and that’s just not good enough and, as a 2 year survivor, I can tell you that that number is sobering to say the least. That said, that 17% number doesn’t define me or anyone else who has this disease. We can and will beat that number (into the ground!) by supporting one another at events like this and by funding the critical research needed to find better treatments and ultimately…find a cure for lung cancer.”
Last year, community members, teams, and companies across the region supported the Nashville Free to Breathe 5K Run/Walk and 1-mile Walk by raising $31,000. Event chairs hope to surpass that total in 2016, which will go a long way in supporting programs specifically designed to ensure that more patients become survivors. Every dollar counts to the more than 224,000 people diagnosed in the U.S with lung cancer each year. In Tennessee alone, an estimated 6,010 residents will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016.
This year’s event will feature a 5K Run/Walk and 1-mile Walk. The day will also include family friendly activities, live music and fun for the whole family. Special recognition will be given to top finishers and fundraising heroes. Gather your superhero squad, and join us for an inspiring day focused on doubling lung cancer survival. To register and begin fundraising, visit Free to Breathe Nashville website.
Hollis had these words of advice to share:
1.Please know that this disease doesn’t just affect one person. I’ve seen it affect my family, my friends, and my work. What you may find interesting is that there have been many wonderfully positive things that have come from my diagnosis. There are too many positive examples to list here so I’ll just say this: I now live by a new motto: “Life is short so do for today what’s most important.” (I only wish I would have been doing that since i was a kid!)
2.If you know someone fighting, they are the same person they were before their diagnosis…don’t treat them differently now that they have cancer. Love them through their fight…you may be the spark they need to win their personal cancer war!
3.If you’ve been diagnosed, do what your doctor says, eat better, and exercise. In my journey, I found a group called “Survivor Fitness” that created an exercise program for survivors like me. That exercise and the supportive community gained with them fuels me. Find your workout and find some new friends who understand your world at the same time!
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