The Strides For Life 5K annually hosts a large number of runners and this year was no different. On Sunday, Close to 900 runners, including 30 teams, came out to support the ninth annual 3.1-mile race, which was hosted by the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports research on innovative strategies for better treatments, screening, and prevention of all types of lung cancers.
The race/walk took place around Lake Agawam in Southampton Village, and its participants included individuals and teams honoring lung cancer patients, survivors, friends and family. Close to $460,000 was raised for the LCRF at this year’s race and it has raised a total of $3.5 million since its inception.
“It was a beautiful day. We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Pippa Gerard, chairman and a founding board member of LCRF, said. “The village and the town of Southampton couldn’t have been more phenomenal in their support over the past nine years, just from a logistics point of view and the support of the community.”
Gerard’s mother, Dinah Tottenham, died of lung cancer in her 60s, which is why her connection to the cause and the race are so tight. Gerard said most, if not all, of the board members of LCRF have lost a loved one to lung cancer. Gerard was part of a team on Sunday called Team Dinah and Mary, in memory of her mother and sister-in-law, who also died of lung cancer.
Gerard explained that lung cancer is not just a smoker’s disease, as some may perceive it to be. One glaring statistic she pointed out is that 25 percent of women who are diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked, compared to a much lower 10 percent of men. Much of the organization’s research goes to finding answers in such anomalies.
Funds raised have gone to support research into prevention, and new approaches for diagnosis and disease management. Strides For Life is the largest New York area fund-raising race for lung cancer research.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women. Despite the fact that approximately 160,000 people die from lung cancer, lung cancer research remains drastically underfunded, especially compared to other major cancers such as breast, colon or prostate cancer, organizers say.
The LCRF was founded in 2005 and seeks to help advance lung cancer research and to help those whose lives have been affected by the disease. The mission of LCRF is to support research studies and activities focused on better treatments, screening and prevention of lung cancer. For more information, or to make a donation, go to www.lungfund.org.
Colin Godwin, of the 17-and-under group, won the race in 15:39.37 while Dave Clark won the male 18-and-over group in 15:47.97. Jamie Grimstad was the first woman to cross the finish line in 18:42.78. Laetitia Krisel won the female 18-and-over group in 19:57.10.