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Lung Cancer Alliance – Race for Breath 2013

In 2011, I received this email from one of my dearest friends:

“As most of you know, my mom, a non-smoker, lost a 10 year battle to lung cancer a litte over 2 years ago.  During her fight, my mom never stopped “living”.  She continued to do the things she loved to do and take care of everyone around her.  You would have NEVER known she was sick!  She really beat the odds by surviving longer than 5 years after her initial diagnosis and she continued to fight strong near the end.  Even when she was told she would never get off a ventilator and breath on her own again… she did!!!  

My mom was the bravest, most loving and inspirational person I have ever known and I miss her terribly.

Please take a minute to read these facts about lung cancer:

Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colorectal, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined.

  • Nearly 80% of new lung cancer cases are either former smokers or NEVER smokers.
  • Lung cancer kills 85% of newly diagnosed patients within five years.
  • Congress earmarks funding within the CDC for specific cancers. The 2010 budget includes:  
    •  $215 million for breast cancer research,
    •  $45 million for colon cancer research
    •  $14 million for prostate cancer research
    • $0 for lung cancer research.  

On November 5, I will be participating in the  Lung Cancer Race for Breath to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  This will be my 4th year participating.  

My mom actually walked this 5K with me just a few months before her cancer recurred for the final time.

Please help me support the fight against this terrible disease by making a donation, every dollar will help.  If you would like to make a donation, please click on the link below
 http://www.active.com/donate/breath11/jankonikoff  Thank you to all my amazing friends and family that have supported me over the past few years!
Love, 

Jan”

I admit, I didn’t know the information she sent to us in that email.  Once I learned it though, I wanted to yell it from the rooftops.  Jan did not ask us to walk with her, because it took everything in her just to send us that email.  To openly acknowledge her painful loss and the desire to repair the world – to personally fight against lung cancer- to ask us for donations… the whole thing made her incredibly uncomfortable.

We assured her that we welcomed “the ask” with great open arms… because we would do ANYTHING to wrap our arms in ANY way possible around our dear friend.
We bundled up and a group of us showed up to walk by her side.  As we walked, it happened that four of us formed a line across the boardwalk… four of us who all have each endured the loss of a parent WAY too early.  We shared some laughs and some tears and all the while, I noticed the sky.  Ever since my dad passed away (1997), my sister and I think of my dad when the sun hides behind clouds and then blasts bright sun rays through the cracks.  She and I shared this privately, but that day, on that walk, I shared it with these friends.
(iphone pics so excuse) :)

Jan says that she imagines my father and her mother hanging out “up there”… and I admit, I LOVE the idea.  It makes me laugh and cry all at once (and that aint a pretty sight).  It makes me FURIOUS that they are not here with us.

I am sharing this publicly because this, I have no doubt, has touched too many people we all know – and though Jan may actually kill me for posting, I want her to know how great the many arms are reaching around her … not only her BFF’s.

This year, please come out to the race and if you can’t do that – consider making a donation (no money is too little, of course!)

No one should make the choice not to smoke, and then get diagnosed with lung cancer.

NO ONE.

EVENT INFO:

DONATION INFO:

http://raceforbreath.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1072535&lis=0&kntae1072535=EBF73227C1804EC4857764E685E88D72&supId=0&team=5681449&cj=Y

In HONOR and in memory of my dear friend’s mother… Maxine, YOU ARE MISSED!!!!!

And to Jan …please don’t kill me.
xoxo,
Elyse
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