On a nearly cloudless morning in Central Park, more than 7,000 runners and walkers gathered in Central Park for the Run As One four-mile race and 1.7-mile Health Walk. In it's 10th year, the event continues to support lung cancer research and awareness through the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation.
Founded in honor of former Chase Manhattan Bank chairman and CEO Thomas G. Labrecque, who died of lung cancer at age 62, this annual event has become a runner favorite. Labrecque was the model of good health and a non-smoker all his life.
In line with the event's mission, the post-race festival in Central Park's SummerStage featured representatives from several local and national lung cancer foundations, who shared valuable information on research and treatments.
The festival also featured a large video screen, which displayed photos of loved ones lost to lung cancer, while a “memory board” offered participants the chance to write messages to friends and family affected by the disease.
New Yorker Deb Mangone paid tribute to her mother and grandmother, both lost to lung cancer. Her mother had quit smoking 30 years before she was diagnosed.
Running for the Lung Cancer Alliance’s Team Lung Love, Mangone said early detection is critical: "My mother had a clean chest X-ray one year before she was diagnosed, but by the time they found the cancer, she was stage three.”
Betsy Chairman, who lives in Philly, ran in support of her father, Edward, who is currently fighting lung and kidney cancers. She wrote messages of support on Run As One bumper stickers that she put onto her shirt and the memory board: “Love you, Daddy XOXO!” Chairman runs this event each year.
Englewood, NJ, resident Reggie Tonge drew a heart around his words of inspiration. “To all those fighting: keep strong," he wrote. "Don’t give up!”