Residents Walk for Lung Cancer Awareness
By Kathryn N. Jones
The color turquoise filled Cascades Park last Saturday as the American Lung Association hosted the Lung Force Walk and the Turquoise Takeover.
The fun walk was created to bring awareness to lung cancer, which is the No. 1 cancer killer among women.
Mallory Izbicki, event coordinator, spoke about the cancer being a silent killer among women because of the cancer not having any symptoms.
“We did a national survey on women and it’s on one percent of women’s radars that lung cancer is an issue,” said Izbicki.
The park was filled with different tents with educational packages on lung cancer for the participants.
“A lot of people don’t find lung cancer until it has reached its later stages,” Izbicki said. “There are no symptoms of lung cancer in its earlier stages. Some people live with it for years before they even know they have it.”
Izbicki wants to get the knowledge out about early detection because right now you can only get detection if you fall within a certain criteria such as if you were or are a smoker.
CVS, whose stores are now a tobacco free company, had a tent set up at the event and even sponsored their workers who participated in the event. Wanda Gilliam, who has been working for CVS for the last 25 years, was one of the employees sponsored at the event.
“It’s a good thing that we are doing this because a lot of people don’t know what lung cancer is,” Gilliam said. “It’s a silent killer. You don’t know you have it.”
Sharsnik Dickey, also an employee of CVS, said “our company sponsored us to walk and by us being a pharmacy we see these people that have the different sicknesses and we get to treat them to either make them better or comfortable.”
Dickey said she walked because she wanted to show their customers that they are supporting them through their journey.
“This event has brought more awareness with all the signs they have up and it has brought a lot of stuff to my attention that I wasn’t aware of so I think it was an eye-opener,” said Reka Walton, an employee of The Pulmonary Clinic in Tallahassee.
One of the biggest support groups at the Lung Cancer walk was for a lady by the name of Amanda who was a non-smoker but was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer last year.
Meredith Wilson, the sister-in-law of Amanda, and a group of supporters all walked together in completing laps in order to show their support to Amanda.
“She’s amazing,” Wilson said. “Her faith and her perseverance are unwavering so we’re here for her today.”
The American Lung Association is also working with legislators in hopes of getting the screening covered under insurance.