WHEELING - Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in West Virginia.
Those seeking a breath of fresh air can find it at the Northern Panhandle's first Clean Air and Healthy Lungs 5K Trail Run/Walk set for May 10 at Grand Vue Park in Moundsville. The non-competitive event, which will benefit the American Lung Association, will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Shelter 2, 250 Trail Drive.
Those registered by April 30 are guaranteed a free T-shirt, although registration at the event is welcome.
To register online, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The family oriented tobacco-free event will feature music, refreshments, health information tables and teen-led demonstrations to draw attention to the dangers of tobacco use.
One of the groups featured at the event will be the Moundsville Middle School jump rope team.
"This event will bring attention to the devastating chronic illness of lung disease and raise funds to support programs in West Virginia and locally in the Northern Panhandle," said Linda Holmstrand, regional tobacco prevention coordinator for the American Lung Association
Patient advocate Georgetta Ledbetter will kick off the event with a ribbon cutting. Ledbetter, a former 22-year employee of Marshall County Schools who began smoking at a young age, has lung cancer.
Her message today is simple: Don't smoke.
"It's important to tell these young kids that they can't smoke cigarettes," Ledbetter said.
Holmstrand echoed Ledbetter's sentiment, saying it is important to reinforce a message of prevention. For those who have already been impacted, the event is equally important.
"If you've been affected by any lung disease - whether COPD, lung cancer or some other lung ailment - come out to celebrate the ability to breathe and efforts to advocate fresh air," Holmstrand said.
Holmstrand added the lung association offers support services that include Our Lung HelpLine, among others.
Individuals can support the ALA by forming a team with friends or co-workers, making a personal donation beyond the registration fee, or asking others for a donation or to sign-up to run or walk.
Volunteers also are needed for the event.
Major sponsors for the event include the Marshall County Family Resource Network, Reynolds Memorial Hospital, the Student Tobacco Prevention Coalition at Bethany College.