Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lung Cancer Research Foundation

Elizabeth Peabody, Dr. Jim Dougherty, Laurie Carson, Kimberly Kravis Schulhof, Ashish Sanhrajka, Bill Carson, and Denis Coleman at last year’s “Lung Cancer - The Basics” luncheon and lecture.
By Nancy A. Ruhling

Zero. That’s the number of cigarettes Laurie Carson’s
49-year-old brother smoked in his lifetime before he was diagnosed with the lung cancer that killed him in only nine months.

Zero. That’s the number of cigarettes that Laurie Carson’s 70-year-old uncle smoked in the quarter century before he was diagnosed with the lung cancer that killed him in only eight weeks.

Laurie Carson with Arie and Coco Kopelman at last year’s “Lung Cancer - The Basics” luncheon and lecture.
One million. That’s how much money Laurie Carson has raised in only one year since she founded the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the non-profit devoted to finding a cure for this stealthy, largely ignored and nearly always fatal disease.

“The fact that my brother and my uncle died of lung cancer in the same year within nine months of each other was a wake-up call for me,” she says. “For years, I have been a volunteer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and while I knew a lot about other kinds of cancer, I didn’t know anything about lung cancer.”

What she now knows is what she wants to share with you and me: You can help snuff out lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer mortality among men and women -- right now. All you have to do is put on your running shoes and join her on Aug. 26 in Southampton for the fund-raiser Strides for Life, the 3-mile fun run/walk around Lake Agawam that last year brought in $430,000.
Starting Line: “on your marks … get set … go!”
Clockwise from top left: “The Super Duper Striders” (last year’s Winning Team): James Soldano, Jack Land, Amory Wooden, Elizabeth Pyne; and Andrew Ferrer; Honorary Chair Nancy Grace of CNN Headline News motivating the crowd; LCRF Board Members Elizabeth Peabody, Pippa Gerard, Ashish Sanhrajka, Laurie Carson, Bill Carson, and Kimberly Kravis Schulhof.
“The deaths of my brother and uncle were huge tragedies for my family,” Carson says. “But they also gave me a gift because I love science and medicine, and the foundation allows me to combine my two passions to make people aware of lung cancer and to look for a cure.”

Every year, 213,000 people in America are diagnosed with lung cancer and 163,390 die, and like Carson’s brother, not all of them are smokers. Perhaps you didn’t know Carson’s brother and uncle, who each were named Bill Cameron. They never made headlines, but Dana Reeve, who never lit up, along with smokers Peter Jennings, George Harrison, Beverly Sills and Nat King Cole sure did.

The Mnuchin Family.
“It’s a challenging disease,” Carson says, adding that 1.3 million are killed each year worldwide. “And it’s been largely underfunded because people tend to blame the victim, saying, ‘Well, he or she smoked. What can you expect?’ And I was just as guilty as everyone else, and I was in a position to know better because of my work with Sloan-Kettering.”

Carson says that the Lung Cancer Research Foundation was able to raise so much money in so little time because every member of the board knows or works with someone who has died of the disease. “My goal is to take the foundation to a national level,” she says. “I want to have walks and other fund-raisers all over the country.”

Zero. That’s how many people Carson hopes will be diagnosed with or die of lung cancer in the future.

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For more information on the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, go to www.lungcancerresearchfoundation.org; for information on Strides for Life, click here.
Hedi’s Team – last year’s top fundraising team.

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