Breathe Deep NEPA: Making a difference

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KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Lung cancer is often thought of as a smoker’s disease. But the fact is most new diagnosed cases are of people who never smoked or no longer smoke. Nearly a quarter-million Americans will get that disturbing diagnosis this year.

One in 16 people in the U.S will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, a Kingston woman who lost her husband to this disease is trying to help others who’ve been diagnosed.

“It’s a photo of my husband and I. It was probably the last year that we attended the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Auxiliary Starlight Ball.” said Pauline Makowski. The photo she talked about from 2007 was taken just months before her husband, Allan, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer a disease he battled for less than a year and a half. He lost that battle in June 2009 at the age of 57. “After he passed, I was heartbroken and a little angry that I couldn’t do more for him,” she said.

Mrs. Makowski’s grief became motivation and within months she saw opportunity to make a difference. “I just liked the organization and I called them and said what do I have to do?” She contacted the LUNGevity Foundation which has nearly five dozen research sites combined in 23 states. Part of LUNGevity’s funding comes from grass roots groups called Breathe Deep. Makowski founded the Breathe Deep NEPA chapter which held its first fundraising walk in 2011 and holds one each June

“I would like to certainly grow the event and certainly raise more money,” said Mrs. Makowski. To date, Breathe Deep NEPA has raised roughly $160,000 for the LUNGevity Foundation. During that time, better immunotherapy drugs have been developed. Mrs. Makowski takes comfort and pride knowing her group is helping make a difference. “I started it in memory of my husband but now it’s in memory of all lung cancer patients.”

Breathe Deep NEPA will hold its 9th annual 5k run and walk this Sunday morning, June 23, at 10 o’clock at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre. Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller will serve as a guest speaker at the event. You can pre-register or sign up the day of the walk


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