Suburban Chicago Woman Honors Mother Lost to Lung Cancer at Community Event

Will walk in memory of her mom, help eliminate ‘horrible’ disease

Patricia Ruiz passed away from stage 4 lung cancer just a couple of months ago on July 12. Now, her daughter, Tracy Rafac, from Plainfield, IL, will honor her mom by walking two and a half miles in the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago’s LUNG FORCE Walk, presented by Northwestern Medicine, at Cantigny Park on October 16, 2022. 

“After my mom passed, I wanted to do something in her memory, to honor her. When I did some research, I realized that the American Lung Association’s Walk in Cantigny Park is the perfect setting to do that,” said Rafac.

In 2020, Ruiz was diagnosed with emphysema and stage 5 dementia. In the beginning of 2022, her mental state drastically deteriorated. Ruiz’s doctor ordered a CT scan and results revealed a tumor on her lung. A biopsy confirmed that Ruiz had lung cancer. Only 39 days after her CT scan results, she passed away. Ruiz was 69 years old.

Rafac is participating in her first Chicagoland Walk this year. She already surpassed her fundraising goal with the help of her friends and now hopes to raise $500.

“Lung cancer is a horrible lung disease and I want to do anything I can to raise money for research and the necessary resources,” said Rafac. 

Rafac will join hundreds of other walkers from across the greater Chicago area who will raise awareness and funding to help eliminate lung disease through lifesaving research, local programs and advocacy. The Lung Association is also offering a Walk Your Way virtual option for those who can’t attend the event.

For more information, and to register, visit

Learn more about lung cancer screening at

For more information, contact:

Dana Kauffman
[email protected]

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