Meaghan’s Race, a first-year event to raise money for lung-cancer research, raised more than $50,000 and drew more than 800 participants to Holy Trinity Church in Webster April 12, said Gail Wagner of Webster, the race’s organizer.
The race is named in honor of Chili mother Meaghan Latone, who had written a newspaper essay last fall lamenting the lack of attention paid to lung cancer. Latone is battling a form of lung cancer that was not caused by smoking. In her essay, she noted that lung-cancer patients often are stigmatized because of the disease’s connection to smoking in some cases.
One aim of the race was to raise money to develop an affordable screening system for lung cancer, which often is not caught until it has progressed into later stages and spread into other areas of the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from lung cancer than from any other type of cancer.
“We hope with this money they raised, they will come up with something to help diagnose it sooner,” said Wagner, who teaches art at Holy Trinity and St. Rita schools in Webster.
Those who took part in the race received rainbow ribbons and T-shirts until supplies ran out. Wagner said organizers had been prepared for a crowd of fewer than 500 people, and they were overwhelmed by the turnout.
“The people that were there said, ‘Thank you for having this. I’m a lung-cancer survivor,'” Wagner said of the race’s participants.
Race proceeds were donated to Rochester’s Wilmot Cancer Center. Donations are still being accepted and may be sent to the center, 90 Brandon Woods Drive, Rochester, NY 14618, to the attention of Karen McIntrye. A notation should be made on the check to indicate that the donation is for Meaghan’s Race.
Wagner said plans are already being made for next year’s race, which will most likely be in early April.