WILKES-BARRE — Nearly 200 people came to Kirby Park on Sunday to combat a killer.
Now in its eighth year, the annual Breathe Deep NEPA 5K run/walk honors represents his loved ones’ commitment both to honor their loved one’s memory and raising funds for LUNGevity, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting early diagnosis and treatment research.
“It was a great loss for me,” said organizer Pauline Makowski, whose husband, Allan Makowski Sr., died of stage 4 lung cancer in June 2009. “I wanted to do something to celebrate his life, but I also hoped we could do something to help and support others.”
The Makowski family’s struggle is one one many American families know all too well.
Lung cancer accounts for 25 percent of all cancer deaths in this country, claiming 154,000 lives annually, according to LUNGevity statistics — more than the next three most common cancers combined — yet the disease receives only 6 percent of all federal research dollars.
And Northeastern Pennsylvania is an area with an above-average rate of lung cancer, organizers of Breathe Deep NEPA point out.
While Makowski said she is still tallying how much Sunday’s event raised, those wishing to support the cause can still make donations through the group’s website, at https://lungevity.org/nepa.