Bethlehem, NY Woman Will Run on Behalf of American Lung Association in TCS NYC Marathon this November
(August 21, 2015)
Paige Farrara of Bethlehem, New York remembers spending a lot of her childhood with her best friend Jessica and her best friend’s mom, Tina Starr, while she was growing up in the Town of Bethlehem. But when the girls were only 16 and in the midst of their all-important high school years at Bethlehem Central High School, Jessica’s mom received an unexpected diagnosis that would alter life as they knew it forever: stage 4 lung cancer. While lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women here in New York and across the country, it’s not a cancer that’s top of mind for most women. According to Jessica and Paige, it wasn’t a cancer that was top of mind for Tina Starr who was only 45 years old when she was diagnosed.
“My mom lived one day short of three years with a Stage 4 prognosis; she was only 48 years old,” says Jessica Starr. “It was a disease that she felt was something others looked down on because of its most common origins. My mother was full of life, energy and passion. She was someone who went to the beat of her own drum and who lived each day like it was her last. She was brave, strong and determined in her journey. And although her journey came to an end, she left me so inspired. It means so much to me that my lifelong friend, Paige, is running in her honor. Lung cancer is a disease people need to care about.”
For Paige Farrara, a commercial and residential realtor with Keller Williams in Latham, marathon running is a relatively new passion of hers. While she’s always been an avid runner, the Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon which she ran last year was her first marathon. The Monday after the marathon she was telling a friend about how amazing the experience was and how she couldn’t wait to run another one. That person happened to work for the American Lung Association and told her about the possibility of running on behalf of the charity in the New York City marathon the following year. The American Lung Association reserves bibs for runners who agree to raise $5,000 to support the Lung Association’s mission. When Farrara heard that the money she would raise would support the American Lung Association, she choked up a little because she immediately thought of her best friend Jessica and Jessica’s mom Tina Starr. She knew that the conversation was kismet and a sign that she needed to run in the marathon to honor Tina’s memory.
The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. The race began in 1970 with just 127 entrants running four laps around Central Park, and expanded citywide in 1976. In 2014, a record 50,530 runners from 130 countries toured New York City’s five boroughs, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and running through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, before ending in Manhattan at the iconic Central Park finish line.
While Paige stresses that much of the preparation for a marathon is mental, she has been running between 30 and 40 miles each week to get herself ready for the big day. She runs between five and six miles nearly every day and does longer 13+ mile runs once a week. In addition to finishing the marathon and raising as much as she can for the American Lung Association, she hopes her run will raise awareness about lung cancer in women. Last year, the American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE, a new movement designed to unite women to stand together against lung cancer and for lung health, and encourage them to raise their voices for change. One of the goals of LUNG FORCE is to drastically increase critical funds for lung cancer research. It’s support that is much needed; more than 108,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and, on average, less than half will be alive next year.
“The Lung Association is so grateful to have Paige Farrara participating in this year’s NYC Marathon and helping us to raise awareness about lung cancer,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Lung cancer doesn’t only affect only the patient. As Paige’s story illustrates, lung cancer alters lives and its after effects are felt by family and friends years after the loss. We need all the support we can to fight lung cancer.”