PLATTSBURGH — Lung cancer continues to be a devastating disease, gaining only small advances in survival rates over the past few decades.
Local residents will have an opportunity to fight back against this most deadly of all cancers during an upcoming fundraiser Saturday, May 4, at the CVPH Wellness Center at PARC.
During Spike for Life, area volleyball enthusiasts will compete in a daylong tournament with all the proceeds going toward the National Lung Cancer Partnership for lung-cancer research and awareness.
“I really wanted to bring a lung-cancer awareness event to the North Country,” said Brian Brubaker, event chair for National Lung Cancer Partnership. “I’ve been personally touched (by lung cancer), losing two family members and, most recently, a friend of mine who passed away three days after Christmas.”
More than 150,000 Americans die from lung cancer each year, a sad statistic that outdistances colorectal cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer combined.
“The current survival rate (for people diagnosed with lung cancer) is 16 percent,” Brubaker said. “That rate has increased only 1 percent over the past several decades.”
The major deterrent to improved treatment results in a lack of consistent funding, he added, a fact that he has personally chosen to correct.
“Community-awareness events like Spike for Life play an important role in spreading awareness to the community and in raising vital research dollars needed to help find a cure,” he said.
For lung-cancer patients like Dawn McCoy, Spike for Life offers a ray of hope that can sometimes be elusive for people battling the unforgiving disease.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” she said of the upcoming fundraiser. “I wish we’d have more events like this, so people can know more about the prevalence of lung cancer across the nation and locally.”
McCoy was 56 years old when she was first diagnosed with stage 4 small-cell lung cancer last July. Doctors found a 4-inch tumor in her lung and acknowledged that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, bones and spine.