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Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer

Two volunteers from the 2010 Walk and Rally

Two volunteers from the 2010 Walk and Rally

Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer used to be called the Annual Naperville Walk and Rally for Lung Cancer. It has a new name but the same significant purpose. The 9th annual event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Naperville Riverwalk. Walkers will meet at the Grand Pavilion, 500 W. Jackson, Naperville.

Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel will be a special guest of honor at the event.

Check- in begins at 9 a.m., opening remarks take place at 10 a.m., and the walk steps off at 10:15 a.m. It will take place rain or shine.

Breathe Deep Naperville is a leisurely 3/4-mile or 1.5-mile walk to raise funds for lung cancer research. The course is friendly to strollers, wheelchairs, bicycles, and pets. There will be a raffle prizes and a silent auction throughout the morning. Radio station 101.9fm THE MIX will provide the morning's soundtrack. For the kids, there will be bears to stuff, an obstacle course, and face painting.

Participants can purchase an A-frame sign with a customized tribute message which will be placed along the event course to guide walkers and runners.

“Lung cancer is the deadliest of all cancers, and yet it remains the least funded,” said Michele Bowles of Elmhurst, chairman of the event. “This walk, which raised more than $39,000 last year, is one of many events across the country hoping to change that. Because of walks like ours, hope endures, and a cure for lung cancer can be found.”

Bowles has an especially powerful motivation. This fall will mark 12 years since her husband Tom was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“At the time he was diagnosed I never would have believed it possible that I could say those words,” she said. “I am able to say them, however, because the wonderful thoughts and prayers from everyone who knows him and because of all the changes in treatments and cancer research, many of which are funded by walks like ours. Tom receives treatments every five weeks, and things continue to look positive. The small cancer spots are being watched carefully, and currently they are not growing, which is the important part.”

Funds raised benefit LUNGevity, based in Chicago. The 501c3 organization’s vision is to unite the country in one movement to “…end lung cancer now.” In June of 2010, LUNGevity and Protect Your Lungs joined forces to become one of the largest private funders of lung cancer research and the largest national lung cancer grassroots organization dedicated to ending lung cancer. The merger represents a milestone in the fight against lung cancer. Both organizations chose to adopt the LUNGevity name.

The walk and rally was founded by Renee Kosiarek of Naperville. After her father died of lung cancer nine years ago, she set out with great passion to raise money and awareness of the deadly disease and, like “The Little Engine that Could,” the walk has gained momentum from the humble event of a hundred or so people.

“This walk has become an annual tradition for many families touched by lung cancer.” said Kosiarek. “When we began, there were almost no events or walks for lung cancer. Now, there are walks all across the country. However, we must not stop until we find a cure. Let us walk together. We walk because lung cancer has touched us in some way. We walk because we hope to spread greater awareness about lung cancer. We walk, because we know that together, we will make a difference.”

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