Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Free To Breathe 5K Harrisburg

A Stage 4 Lung Cancer with brain mets DX is the great white shark of medical diagnoses … its one single minded objective is to kill me.

Hope and awareness rumbled by my DJ/MC tent Saturday morning as nearly 500 runners and walkers participated in Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership’s 2013 Free ToBreathe 5K on City Island … stretching a 3 mile living ribbon of lung cancer awareness across the Susquehanna River into Harrisburg and back … empowering!
Most important last year 7 survivors were in attendance … this year, 11 were registered though only 8 are pictured. … More, more, and more … inspirational!
Since last summer I searched for ‘survivors’ and finally this past Spring connected by an oncology nurse, while I was still Stage 1,  the woman to the far right shared she was told she had 4 months to live 4 years ago DX’d with Stage 4 … her advice to me was “take control” of your treatment … surrounding her in the chemo lounge were three more 4 yr+ survivors and a 10 yr lung cancer survivor all of whom shared similar original prognoses. 

… WE are not statistics ... WE are people fighting to outlive lung cancer
The young woman to my left was DX’d at age 19! … young women are the fastest growing subgroup … it’s an increasingly toxic world out there from radon to diesel to pollution … if you have lungs you can get lung cancer … KNOW your body

I had an opportunity to hug Dr. Troy Moritz, my thoracic surgeon who cut the primary tumor out of me in March 2012. Knowing the importance of spouse caregiving to me I was out of the hospital on the third morning and just 6 weeks later pushing my wife’s wheelchair around City Island.

Those were the Stage 1 days and my world turned upside down 4 months ago when my DX jumped to Stage 4 Lung Cancer with brain metastasis. …

10 whole brain radiation treatments and 12 weeks of aggressive chemotherapy I returned to DJ … with the help of my daughter … I danced and pranced, DJ’d and MC’d, hula hoop contests … and oh yeah Stage 4 DJing needed to sit down a couple breaks to finish smashing some stigmas. 

PS Thank You! Tom Wingert of Lucky Shot photography

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. I know you enjoyed your day, but I bet it left you drained. I know Megan is a huge help to you!! Kudos for being a great daughter!!


    1. Jackie 'drained' is an understatement I slept for a day :)

  2. hi there. I follow your impressive trip and my dad has lung cancer spread to the spine, liver, spleen and sternum. would love to exchange some thoughts with you. Where can I find your email address? Sincerely, Sweden

  3. Thanks for sharing this post about the walk. Glad you found other survivor's to be part of the important day. Thanks for educating people that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. I've told you that I'm a 9-1/2 Year survivor of stage 3A lung cancer. I was only 41 when I was diagnosed and had never been a smoker. No-one should be judged for getting this cancer, no matter if your a smoker or not. There are all kinds of toxins in our air that causes this disease. God Bless you for sharing your strength and courage-your an inspiration to all of us.

  4. Linda as always thank you for caring ... and sharing