2016-10-08 / The Bullhorn

‘A cause near and dear to my heart’

Roxboro Community School represented in 10th Annual LUNGe Forward 5K in Raleigh
By Grace Hardy
Bullhorn Report er   The

10th Annual LUNGe Forward 5K was held on Sept. 25, at Midtown Park in Raleigh. This event was sponsored by the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina to raise awareness for the disease.

Ashley Bailey, a teacher at Roxboro Community School (RCS), said, “This is a cause near and dear to my heart.

“Lucas Fuller asked me why the color for lung cancer was white. I told him it was because no one pays attention to lung cancer so the white represents that. It disappears. The reason it doesn’t receive attention and funding is because the vast majority of the public believes this to be a smoker’s disease.”

Bailey explained that the first question many ask upon hearing that someone was diagnosed with lung cancer is “Oh, did they smoke?” As in “Oh, they did this to themselves.” The number one risk factor for acquiring lung cancer is simply having lungs, however.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society states that one in 14 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and about 70 percent of those diagnosed will die as a result. It has an extremely low survival rate that regrettably has barely improved over the last 20 years. It is rarely caught early as there are no regular screening tests (it only takes a simple CAT scan, however that is not a part of typical health exams like breast or prostate exams).

“I have seen so many young men and women speak at these events as they are receiving treatment and then hear later that they died.” said Bailey.

She participates in the 5K every year. Her children began participating by being pushed in stroller; now they run. The 5K had over 900 participants, including RCS sophomores Lucas Fuller and Karson McKenzie. The event raised over $156,000 this year.

The proceeds will go into funding charities, such as the Susan C. Hicks Hope Charities (SCHHC). Susan Hicks, Bailey’s aunt, died 10 years ago this month at the age of 51 from stage 3 lung cancer. She was a lifelong nonsmoker and was not often introduced to secondhand smoke. The SCHHC was founded by Bailey’s cousins, Anderson Hicks Garrett, Elizabeth Hicks Hefner, and her uncle, Gary Hicks in memory of Mrs. Hicks in order to continue the fight against lung cancer.

The Hickses said, “the idea was first conceived by our Mom during her battle. Mom said that she had cancer to survive and help others. Our Mom’s spirit is what drives our family to continue this fight against lung cancer, and for this we survive for her.”

This charity has raised over $75,000 so far for lung cancer research and awareness, and college scholarships for students headed into the teaching field, two things that were exceedingly important to Mrs. Hicks. After founding the SCHHC, the family discovered that this organization was the leading force in funding research, inspiring hope, and bringing awareness to lung cancer in North Carolina.

More information can be found at http://www.lungcancerinitiativenc.org/.

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