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My husband will continue to be with us

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In the words of Michele Bowles of Elmhurst, walk chairperson

To me personally, Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer means my husband will continue to be with us.

My husband Tom was diagnosed in the fall of 1999 with non-small cell lung cancer which led to chemo, radiation, and the removal of his left lung. All was clear for awhile. About two years later, two small tumors were found – one in his brain and one in his spine. He was diagnosed a Stage 4.

Radiation took care of his spine tumor, and healthy new bone grew back. Surgery removed the brain tumor. All was clear for another few years, and we began to breathe a little easier. Unfortunately it didn’t last.

His hip started to bother him, and scans showed a tumor in his pelvic bone near the hip socket. That was a disheartening moment. Since then he's been benefiting from newer treatments that research has discovered. He currently goes in for regular chemo and targeted drug therapies. These newer treatments have been keeping the cancer in check.

He has some tumors that cannot be operated on, but they are small and not growing, thanks to these newer drugs; drugs that didn't exist 11 years ago when he was diagnosed. That really hits home – the continuing need for research and study.

I had an uncle who lasted three months from diagnosis to death. I had a cousin of my mom's who lasted about one year. These two deaths were within the last three years, so even newer treatments don't work for everyone.

We have to keep walking and raising money for lung cancer research to help our families, our friends, and our future. If you don't know someone who has been affected by lung cancer – you will. It's unfortunate, but true.

Walkers will step off in silence to honor the memory of loved ones at Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, starting at the Riverwalk Park Grand Pavillion, 500 W. Jackson, Naperville. Participants can choose either a 3/4 mile or 1 1/2 mile course. The walk is free, but a donation of $20 per person is suggested. Proceeds benefit LUNGevity, a Chicago not-for-profit organization whose mission is to find a cure. Visit: http://www.lungevity.org/naperville

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