To Ruthie Ginsberg and her husband Marty, lung cancer couldn’t be more personal. Ruthie, diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2013, underwent 41 chemotherapy treatments over the next three years. She says her lung cancer has been “stable” now for over three years.
The Ginsbergs know that lung cancer can affect anyone, regardless of background or whether or not they’ve been a smoker.
“The disease is so widespread that everyone is connected in one way or another to someone they love or care about who has lung cancer, and they would want a cure for that person,” says Ruthie.
She and Marty are taking their commitment to raising awareness about the disease to another level. This year they have been named the Honorary Chairs for the 8th Annual Northern NJ Free to Breathe Lung Cancer Walk, scheduled for Sunday, October 1, at picturesque Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna. Hundreds of walkers have participated in the past, from Morris, Warren, Sussex, and Somerset counties, and in many cases, further away.
The current survival rate for lung cancer is 17 percent, compared to 89 percent for breast cancer and 99 percent for prostate cancer, yet it is among the least funded cancers. Although it claims more lives each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined, those three cancers receive an average of 5.8 times more research funding per life than lung cancer. Greater awareness means better treatment options and increased survival rates.
Free to Breathe, a national nonprofit lung cancer research and advocacy organization, hopes to double the lung cancer survival rate by 2022. It holds walks year-round throughout the country to raise awareness and funds. Last year’s event in Succasunna, despite rainy weather, brought in hundreds of participants and over $53,000. Ruthie’s Team Alive/Strive/Thrive/Walk to Survive raised the most money, and the Ginsbergs hope to do even better this year.
“There is no better couple suited to be our Honorary Chairs,” says Jim Dennison, the event’s founder and a 13-year lung cancer survivor himself. “Ruthie and Marty are truly dedicated people who want to make a difference.”
The event includes a deejay-led welcome rally, family-friendly activities, prize drawings, and a one- or two-mile walk or run on the scenic course, which winds around Horseshoe Lake. This year’s event will also feature a bake sale. Online registration, now open for individuals and teams, is $25 per person before September 28; visit www.freetobreathe.org/get–involved/northernnj. The fee covers entry to the event, a 2017 Free to Breathe t-shirt, and refreshments. Registration on the day of the walk begins at 9 a.m, with the welcome rally at 10 a.m., followed by a kids’ dash and the walk. The event wraps up around noon.
Free to Breathe is a partnership of lung cancer survivors, advocates, researchers, healthcare professionals and industry leaders who are united in the belief that every person with lung cancer deserves a cure. The organization focuses on accelerating research, helping patients understand treatment options and ensuring that patients benefit from innovative therapies that save lives. To learn more, visit www.freetobreathe.org.