LUNG FORCE 5K Run/Walk, Catalyst for Local Lung Cancer Survivor to Educate Community About a Vital Cause

American Lung Association to host LUNG FORCE Run/Walk at Baldwin Park’s Harbor View Park on May 13
In an effort to help end lung cancer, Stephanie Malecki, resident of Orlando, mother of two and lung cancer survivor, is participating in the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Run/Walk taking place at Baldwin Park’s Harbor View Park on May 13.  

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, Malecki was diagnosed with lung cancer after more than a year of being short of breath, being diagnosed with a cold, bronchitis and walking pneumonia. “I knew something was wrong but as a 37-year-old female with no history of smoking, smoke exposure, or other risk factors, I simply didn't fit what people consider the "typical" lung cancer profile,” shares Malecki. “How? Why? Unfortunately, very few answers are available, and my research led me to understand that women are disproportionately impacted by lung cancer and what most people consider high-risk factors simply aren't appearing in some patient profiles,” remarks Malecki. 

“There isn't enough research to understand why yet, and that needs to change. I have two young daughters and we need to find answers for me, for them, for all of us. We need to remove the stigma surrounding lung cancer, secure the research dollars needed, and better understand this disease that impacts such a large portion of our population, and kills more than any other cancer,” shares Malecki.

“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among people in the U.S. In Florida it is estimated that over 19,560 people were diagnosed in 2022 alone, but there is hope. More Americans than ever, like Stephanie are surviving lung cancer,” shares Dr. Rick Ramnath, Chair of the Local Leadership Board, American Lung Association and Principal Radiologist at Neuroskelatal Imaging. “The survival rate has increased by nearly 40% in the past decade. 

“Lung cancer screening is key to early diagnosis, and early diagnosis saves lives” said Ramnath. “We all can help reduce the burden of lung cancer in Florida. If you are eligible for lung cancer screening, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about it. If a loved one is eligible, please encourage them to get screened. Find out if you are eligible for lung cancer screening at SavedByTheScan.org.”

On May 13, hundreds of Orlando residents are coming together to raise awareness about lung cancer, lighten the burden for people living with lung disease, honor the memory of those we’ve lost and lift up those who need our support.”

The LUNG FORCE 5K Run/Walk is great for friends, family and company teams to come together to support people with lung disease and lung cancer, have fun and get some great exercise. Joining the LUNG FORCE Run/Walk supports the work of the American Lung Association to defeat lung cancer, improve the air we breathe, reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families, and eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases.

“Fighting to end lung disease must be a collaborative effort,” said Malecki. “As a lung cancer survivor, it is humbling to see so many community members and local businesses come together to support the American Lung Association and the LUNG FORCE initiative. Together, we are advancing lung health in Central Florida and supporting education programs to help patients understand and navigate their lung diseases.” 

Money raised at the LUNG FORCE Run/Walk, support the mission of the American Lung Association and their efforts to defeat lung cancer, champion clean air, improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families, and to create a tobacco-free future.   

Registration for the Orlando LUNG FORCE Run/Walk on May 13 is $35 for adults and $25 for children. For more information and to register, visit LUNGFORCE.org/Orlando.   

MEDIA MATERIALS AVAILABLE: The following media materials are available for your use:
For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
704-818-4138
[email protected]

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