Diane Emdin Sachs
The American Lung Association's second annual Diane Emdin Sachs Lung Cancer Walk will take place at Jones Beach on Oct. 9. The event, which was implemented last year, is in honor of the late Diane Emdin Sachs, a resident of Hicksville who lost her battle with small-cell carcinoma in November 2002. Ms. Sachs' last wish was to create a walk to raise awareness and funds to support the search for a cure.
Ms. Sachs was first diagnosed with small-cell cancer at age 37 while pregnant with her second child. She was not a smoker. "She had never smoked and the doctors could offer no explanation why she got this rare form of cancer," Ms. Sachs' brother, Jeff Emdin, said. "All they [said] was that she only had seven months to live. It seemed so unfair."
Determined to watch her children grow up, Emdin said his sister lived for another 18 months following her diagnosis. "She fought for her life with such grace and dignity that she became a real hero to those whose lives she touched. We, her friends and family, are determined that her legacy live on through this memorial walk," Emdin said.
Small cell cancer usually originates in the lungs' large central airways and it accounts for about 20 percent of all lung cancers. In some cases, small-cell tumors also will include cells that have non-small-cell features; this condition is called a mixed tumor. Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both of the lungs. While normal lung tissue cells reproduce and develop into healthy lung tissue, these abnormal cells reproduce rapidly and never grow into normal lung tissue. Lumps of cancer cells (tumors) then form and disrupt the lung, making it difficult to function properly.
More than 87 percent of lung cancers are smoking related, however, not all smokers develop lung cancer. Quitting smoking reduces an individual's risk significantly, although former smokers remain at greater risk for lung cancer than people who never smoked. Exposure to other carcinogens such as asbestos and radon gas also increases an individual's risk, especially when combined with cigarette or cigar smoking.
Proceeds from last year's inaugural Diane Emdin Sachs Lung Cancer Walk, which totaled some $95,000, enabled the American Lung Association to established a $150,000 grant, which will be used specifically for finding a cure and improving treatment of small-cell lung cancer as well as lung cancer research. Through creation of this national award, the association hopes to stimulate investigator-initiated applications in this area of lung cancer research and broaden the pool of scientists investigating improved treatments and a potential cure. The focus of the research award will be programs that have a high likelihood of advancing the association's understanding of small-cell lung cancer treatment
The Diane Emdin Sachs Lung Cancer Walk, which will take place on Sunday, Oct. 9, rain or shine, at Jones Beach State Park, is designed to be non-strenuous for walkers of all ages. There will be raffles and other surprises. Morning snacks will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring picnic lunches to enjoy together after the walk. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. at Parking Field 5 (Zach's Bay) and the four-mile walk will start at 10 a.m. Donations by check should be made payable to the American Lung Association of New York State and mailed to Virgil Lee, American Lung Association, 35 Orchard Street, White Plains, NY 10603.
For additional information visit www.alahv.org/lungcancerwalk or 1-800-LUNG-USA.