Free to Breathe 5K Run and Walk raising money, awareness for lung cancer

Free to Breathe 5K Run and Walk raising money, awareness for lung cancer. (WISH Photo/Joe Melillo)

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – The Free to Breathe 5K Run and Walk is raising money and awareness for lung cancer. Organizers say there is often a stigma associated with lung cancer that can negatively affect patients.

This is the fourth year for the event. It’s scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday at Fort Harrison State Park.

Leaders said the goal is to double lung cancer survival by 2020 with money that will go directly toward research and development of treatments.

Organizers said the stigma surrounding lung cancer is that patients “deserved it” because they smoked, but according to a lung cancer patient and leaders, about 10 to 15 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked before.

According to the CDC, Indiana has some of the highest rates of lung cancer diagnosis and deaths associated with lung cancer. Data from 2013 from the CDC shows more than 212,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with lung cancer. More than 150,000 people died from lung cancer in the U.S. during that same time.

Kelly Baker, a mother of a 5-year-old, who was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 39 said she hadn’t smoke a cigarette since college. She said she wants to show her son she can make a difference.

“At times it’s difficult but I have a lot to live for and that is what I plan on doing, is living a really fulfilling life,” said Baker. “If nothing else, if I don’t make it as long as I like to, I want to help others and show my son what can be done in a situation that’s not optimal and do something good out of it,” she said.

Baker’s fundraising team name is “Kelley B Strong”.  She’s leading the pack with more than $4,000 raised. Other groups are up to over $1,000.

So far 300 people are signed up from all over Indiana.

Click here to participate in the Free to Breathe 5K Run and Walk.

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