Camden resident to honor grandfather
Camden — Martha Peard of Camden, 30, was a sophomore in college when she lost her grandfather, Norman Peard, within three weeks of his lung cancer diagnosis.
Those who knew Norman called him "Red," due to the bright color of his hair.
It seemed out of nowhere that the seemingly healthy 82-year-old lost his balance and fell, only to learn that he had lung cancer, which already rapidly spread to his femur, causing weakness.
Red was the former owner of Red’s, a gas station in Jaffrey, N.H., a Boston’s Sand and Gravel truck driver, and an avid NASCAR fan.
But Peard’s grandfather isn’t the only person she knows who has succumbed to lung cancer. Her best friend from college, Alyssa, also lost her father in two short months to the disease. Another close friend, Ewa, Alyssa’s sister in-law, watched her father, Greg, lose his battle to the same cancer.
To raise awareness and to help fund a cure, the three women will band together under the team name Ray and Greg’s Angels and participate in the LUNGevity Foundation’s eighth annual Breath Deep Boston 5K Walk.
On Saturday, Nov. 2 at the DCR’s Mother’s Rest Area at Carson Beach in South Boston, Ray and Greg’s Angels will walk 30 members strong, alongside 2,000 participants in one-day fundraising event. The team hopes to raise $10,000 for the cause. Those interested in supporting can visit lungevity.org/boston, click on the “donate to this event” button and enter the name Ray and Greg’s Angels to make a donation to boost Peard’s fundraising efforts.
The team is made up of a myriad of families, friends, colleagues, spouses, neighbors.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, claiming approximately 160,000 lives every year. It can afflict anyone, regardless of smoking history, gender, or ethnicity. Currently, only 16 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive five years post-diagnosis. With early detection, there is hope of long-term survivorship.
Peard, Red’s only red-headed grandchild and an registered nurse at Maine’s Mid Coast Hospital, sees the effects of lung cancer every day as she cares for patients.
“It was so horrible to lose my grandfather so unexpectedly, he was like a father to me,” said Peard in a news release. “Lung cancer is such a horrible way to die and I want to do all I can to raise awareness and help fund a cure.”
LUNGevity Foundation is the nation’s largest private organization dedicated to research for the early detection and treatment of lung cancer. The Breathe Deep Boston 5K Walk is one of more than 80 LUNGevity events that take place annually across the country. Since 2002, they have collectively raised more than $11.4 million. Participants often walk in honor of someone currently battling lung cancer or in memory of someone lost to the disease. Individuals and/or businesses are encouraged to sign up as teams. The walk will kick-off at 11 a.m. and the course is stroller and wheelchair-friendly.
Since its 2006 inception, the Breathe Deep Boston 5K Walk has alone raised more than $1 million. The event was founded by two lung cancer patients, the late Rich Kaufman and the late Geri Norris, with the support of a small group of family, friends and volunteers also touched by lung cancer.
To register for the Breathe Deep Boston 5K Walk on Nov. 2, or to support a walker, visit lungevity.org/boston or call (312) 407-6100. Participants can enter the discount code BREATHE for $5 off the registration fee. November is lung cancer awareness month.