Amy Waggoner, event chair for the fifth annual Free to Breathe 5K run and one-mile walk said after her friend and business partner was diagnosed with the disease in 2008, she wanted to organize a way to help raise money for lung cancer research.
“When my law partner was diagnosed in 2008, I didn’t know anything about lung cancer but as I began researching it, I was stunned to find out how deadly it is and how little money is currently going into research,” she said.
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer causes more deaths than the next three most common cancers, colon, breast and pancreatic, combined and accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths.
Waggoner said the idea to start a 5K run that would benefit the nonprofit comprised of a partnership of lung cancer survivors, advocates, researchers, health care professionals and industry leaders, came after she researched the charity and learned that its mission was much like her own.
At last year’s race, about 400 participants raised close to $33,000 and Waggoner said the race is projected to raise about $37,000 this year.
This year’s race will be at John Howell Park, 869 Virginia Ave. in Atlanta with registrations beginning at 7 a.m. A welcome rally will begin at 8 a.m. and the run begins at 8:30 a.m.
While online registration closes today, participants may show up Saturday and register to run or walk for $30.
New to this year’s event will be a kids’ corral area with games, face painting and other activities and a survivor VIP tent with special refreshments.
While fundraising is a big part of the race, Waggoner said bringing awareness and education to the community about lung cancer is equally as important.
“One of the reasons we started this is to get people talking more and learning about lung cancer,” she said. “The more people we have out at the event, the more we will spread the word and that is important because it is such a deadly disease and our ultimate goal is to raise lung cancer survival in next the 10 years.”
If you go:
Where: John Howell Park at 869 Virginia Ave. in Atlanta
When: 7 to 9:30 a.m.
Cost: $30 per runner
Information: www.freetobreathe.org and www.facebook.com/f2batlanta