This Saturday I am running my very first half marathon. I am not a runner. Never have been, but I decided to challenge myself this fall.
I am going to run three half marathons, in three states in the next three months.
Why, you may be thinking? About five months ago I accepted a job at Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA). This new opportunity brought me from my small hometown of Tecumseh, MI (only 8,000 people) to our nation’s capital.
As part of the Lung Cancer Alliance family, my interactions with patients, survivors and volunteers in the lung cancer community have developed in me a strong passion for the cause and am using that motivation to get me through the three half marathons this fall.
Running is my tool to raise awareness and funds for lung cancer, not only through the national reach of Lung Cancer Alliance, but also within my small community back in Tecumseh. When I first decided to turn the races into a fundraiser, with a goal of raising $3,000 ($1,000 per race) for lung cancer, my first thought was to reach out to people and businesses back home for help, not expecting a huge response. I should have known better.
After reaching out, it became clear to me where my drive to help people came from; folks back home have displayed a desire to assist in my efforts to raise awareness, and I couldn’t be more inspired. People who I have known for years and years and even people who I don’t know at all have given generously, many because they themselves have lost loved ones to lung cancer.
Through my time at Lung Cancer Alliance, I now know that we don’t all have to take on big challenges to make a difference. You can start to lift the blame, shame and stigma by talking with your friends, family, and neighbors about lung cancer.
This weekend I head to Vancouver, B.C. to run 13.1 miles, a feat I could never have imagined attempting. Please consider giving today or sponsoring one of those 13.1 miles, in honor of the 160,000 lives we lose each year to this devastating disease.
Stay tuned for pictures from Vancouver and updates on my next two races in DC and Philly!
-Rachel Bartolo, Lung Cancer Alliance, Development and Operations Assistant