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Breath of Hope 5K to benefit UCSD Cancer Center April 19

Walkers from the 2014 Breath of Hope 5K to benefit UCSD Cancer Center
Walkers from the 2014 Breath of Hope 5K to benefit UCSD Cancer Center
/ Courtesy

The seventh annual c to benefit lung cancer research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center takes place Sunday, April 19 at Cancer Survivors Park on Harbor Island. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. The walk will start at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is $35. On-site registration is $40. The cost for survivors to participate is $15 and children under the age of 12 are $20 at sdbreathofhope.ucsd.edu

“The Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk brings together passionate San Diegans in a united effort to advance transformative research and therapies to treat lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death among men and women,” said Scott Lippman, M.D., director of Moores Cancer Center. “Proceeds provide an important source of support for our world-class physicians and researchers in their ongoing work to develop innovative solutions for treating and preventing this deadly disease.”

The San Diego Breath of Hope Lung Cancer Walk was founded in 2009 by three people with lung cancer who met at a UC San Diego-sponsored lung cancer symposium: Kathleen Larson and the late Maria Enriquez and Mike Stevens. The walk was the first event of its kind in San Diego to raise funds for lung cancer education and research; to date it has raised more than $710,000.

Today, Kathleen Larson is still involved with the event along with the Enriquez family. “None of us had experience planning a walk like this, but we knew this was a cause worth fighting for,” Larson said. Her story is proof of the importance of early detection of lung cancer. In 2001, a friend working at a body scan facility offered her a scan. Larson agreed to it on a whim. She did not expect the news she received. The spiral CT scan revealed a suspicious mass between the lobes of Kathleen’s left lung. Ten days later, her entire left lung was removed. Five years later, during the now routine scans, another small tumor was found in her right lung. The new tumor was removed using minimally invasive surgery, and Larson is still able to work as a psychotherapist, travel and enjoy time with her family.