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About the Race
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Message from the Chair
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Greetings!

Thank you for your interest in the “Wilhelmina E. Bell-Taylor Race for Lung Life 5K Run/Walk.” I am excited by the talents, creativity, experience, and knowledge of everyone who is willing to contribute to this important outreach endeavor.

Despite the physical challenges that my mother faced -- from a diagnosis of Hodgkins Disease at 19, to congestive heart failure, and most recently lung cancer in 2004, she never wavered in her commitment to impacting the lives of others. Her life mission was to help as many people as she could before she died, and she did just that.

My mother raised me and built BETAH Associates, Inc., a 20-year old management consulting firm based in Bethesda, MD, on the principles of faith, integrity, and service to others. I embrace and live my life by these same principles. Therefore, I am determined to continue to carry forth her legacy and mission to improve the quality of life for others. One way that I believe I can do this is through the Wilhelmina E. Bell-Taylor Race for Lung Life.

Our inaugural race held on April 4, 2009 was a success! With nearly two hundred registrants in less than three months, a proclamation from the County Executive and media coverage, we made great strides in raising awareness of lung cancer.
This is only the beginning. Given the outpouring of support and participation in the event, the committee is now planning for an even larger event for next year. We hope you will save the date: April 24, 2010 and join us at Candy Cane City, Chevy Chase, MD to once again take steps to end the stigma that surrounds lung cancer.

In the weeks following the inaugural race, I received sad news that a young woman named Wendy Balazik passed away on April 21 in the face of lung cancer. Wendy attended the race with her father by her side to watch a large group of her friends run on her behalf because she was too weak to participate. As I talked with her, Wendy shared that she was excited and encouraged when she learned about the race and was inspired by mother’s story. She was so excited she even wanted to join the committee to help address the impact that the disease is having on non-smokers since she, like my mother, never smoked a day in her life. Though my exchange with Wendy was brief, I know that yet another bright light has dimmed in the face of lung cancer. Wendy’s death has furthered my determination to do what I can through the Race for Lung Life to make a difference in the fight against this devastating disease. Therefore, the 2nd Annual Race for Lung Life will be held to celebrate the young life of Wendy Balazik.

My hope is that in coming years the event will continue to raise awareness of the deadly impact of a disease that oddly enough remains in the shadows. Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cancer- killer in both men and women in the United States and, in 1987, surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer deaths in women? Probably not. So these are my goals -- to transform the view that society has about lung cancer and to eradicate the stigma; to encourage patients and families battling the disease; and to identify ways to support research, treatment, and care.

My mother’s and Wendy’s battle with lung cancer didn’t end in defeat, nor was their determination to fight in vain, because their desire to help others will continue through this race and through your efforts. I believe that as the event continues to grow in years to come that our hard work will have an impact on finding a cure and ending the devastation that this disease causes in the lives of so many.

I look forward to seeing you on April 24, 2010!

With Appreciation,

Michelle Taylor, Chair
Race for Lung Life



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