Harvard Grad Runs Across America to Make an Indelible Footprint Against Lung Cancer to Raise Funding for Lung Cancer Research

Jul 26, 2012, 18:59 ET from Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation

Kelcey Harrison Will Trek 3,500 Miles from New York City to San Francisco to Honor Her Childhood Friend Who Lost Her Life at 22 to this #1 Cancer Killer

SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Running across America is an amazing feat under any circumstances. But on Monday, July 30, when 24-year-old Kelcey Harrison begins the grueling 30-mile-a-day race from New York City to San Francisco, she will carry the symbolic torch in honor of her best childhood friend, Jill Costello. A scholar and athlete at the University of California Berkeley who was named the 2010 PAC 10 Women's Athlete of the Year, Jill's life was stamped out by this killer cancer at age 22, shortly after propelling her team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Division 1 Women's Rowing Championships, and one month after the life-long friends graduated from college.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120726/DC47548)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110630/DC28681LOGO-b)

Harrison, a Harvard grad and paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, is determined to earn every one of the 3,500 miles she runs with sweat and effort. Her race (the equivalent of 140 marathons) to the finish line has one goal: to defeat the devastation of lung cancer and the unjust myths that it's only an older person's or smoker's disease, which often (and in the case of Jill) delayed prompt diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, robbing even more life from the 450 people it kills daily in the U.S.

"When I lost my dear childhood friend Jill, I was introduced to the unfair stigma facing lung cancer patients today," says Harrison, who grew up with Costello in San Francisco. "This run is hopefully my way of changing our ideas about lung cancer and to help raise monies for research and awareness. People need to wake up and we need to commit to lung cancer the same way we committed to breast cancer and heart disease. Once we do, think of all the daughters, friends, fathers, mothers, teammates, and heroes whose lives will be saved."

Calling the cross-country mega marathon "The Great Lung Run," (www.TheGreatLungRun.com) Harrison's race will begin on Monday, July 30 and all funds raised will go to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (www.lungcancerfoundation.org) and its unstoppable young people's movement – Jill's Legacy® for Lung Cancer research (www.jillslegacy.org). Jill's Legacy was formed as an Advisory Board to the Addario foundation, operates under the BJALCF 501(c)3, and is made up of many of Costello's friends and other young professionals who have each been personally touched by lung cancer. The mission is simple: to be the driving force in significantly increasing the stagnant 15.5% survival rate for lung cancer.

"Kelcey is my hero and my hope is that people will listen, take action and change the atrocity in the funding for research for this disease," said Bonnie J. Addario, founder and a lung cancer survivor.

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer, killing more people per year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, melanoma and kidney cancers combined. More than 1.6 million people are diagnosed each year; with a 15.5 percent survival rate that has not changed in more than 40 years.

Kelcey's run is also part of a larger viral campaign by the The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Jill's Legacy:  #WhatCanYourLungsDo? campaign (link to: https://vimeo.com/45457761). The campaign, which has already reached more than 2.5 million Facebook fans, features everyone from athletes and bands to dancers and young lung cancer survivors across the country showcasing to the world what they can do with their lungs.

"I am running this for Jill," says Kelcey, "But also for all of the other lung cancer patients and survivors out there. Lung cancer has no funding but continues to take hundreds of thousands of lives."

A big WELCOME HOME/ARRIVAL PARTY and fundraiser will be hosted by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Jill's Legacy, donors and sponsors, in San Francisco. Date, of course, and location, is to be determined. Stay tuned.

Follow Harrison at www.TheGreatLungRun.com. Also make sure you "like" the campaign on Facebook and show the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Jill's Legacy what your lungs can do. To donate to The Great Lung Run, go to http://www.crowdrise.com/thegreatlungrun/fundraiser/Jillslegacy or contact Darby Anderson at darby@lungcancerfoundation.org or call 949.293.2093. Sponsorships available from $10.00‐$250,000. Sponsorship forms are downloadable at http://www.lungcancerfoundation.org/glr-sponsor

All proceeds will go to Young Investigator Lung Cancer Research through the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

For press inquiries, contact Sheila Von Driska, Communications, at 415.357.1278 or sheila@lungcancerfoundation.org

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
BJALCF is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation works with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change. BJALCF was established on March 6, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised over nine million dollars for Lung Cancer research. www.lungcancerfoundation.org

About Jillian Costello and Jill's Legacy
Jillian Costello was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in June 2009, just one week after competing in the NCAA Division 1 Rowing Championships her junior year at UC Berkeley. Jill never smoked and had no family history of Lung Cancer. She underwent 20 rounds of chemotherapy, 14 days of radiation, and three biopsies. Throughout her battle, she remained active in her Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, earned a B.A. in political economy and coxed the Cal Varsity Women's Crew to a PAC-10 title and a second place national finish. Only three weeks later, Lung Cancer took Jill from this world. She was 22-years-young.

By March 2011, Jill's Legacy was formed as an Advisory Board to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation made up of promising young professionals who have each been personally touched by Lung Cancer. The mission is simple: to be the driving force in significantly increasing the stagnant 15.5% survival rate of the world's Number 1 Cancer Killer–Lung Cancer.

SOURCE Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation