German Village Gazette

Regional summit to benefit lung-cancer survivors

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Cancer survivors Jose Rodriguez (left) and Brian Maughan are seen at the Columbus Public Health building Friday, Nov. 1. Both men plan to attend the LUNGevity Hope Summit conference for cancer survivors Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9 in Columbus.

For the first time, Columbus will host a regional LUNGevity HOPE Summit, a gathering of cancer survivors looking to share their experiences and information about the disease.

It will be the first Hope Summit outside of Washington, D.C., where the national symposium has been held each May for three years.

"It truly is a conference that educates as well as celebrates survivorship," said Katie Black, director of support and advocacy for Dallas-based LUNGevity Foundation.

"And what we mean by survivorship is whether that's one day or 1,000 days, it's all about quality of life," Black said.

The summit, which coincides with Lung Cancer Awareness Month, starts with a reception Friday, Nov. 8, followed by an all-day conference Saturday, Nov. 9. Each event will be held at the Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road.

To register, which is required for participation, visit

Adding to the weekend's festivities is Breathe Deep Columbus, a 5K walk that gathers in Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St., downtown. It is open to all who register at the website.

Participation is free for cancer survivors, $25 for adults, $15 for those 60 years old and older, $15 for students and $10 for children 13 and younger.

Check-in and registration begin at 10 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. program. The walk starts at 11:30 a.m.

Jose Rodriguez, a lung-cancer survivor and spokesman for Columbus Public Health, is credited with bringing the regional conference to central Ohio.

"My experience in Washington, D.C., changed my perspective and outlook on lung cancer and lung-cancer survivorship," said Rodriguez, who has been cancer-free since 2011.

"It demonstrated to me what many other people who experience these life-challenging conditions already knew: that community and hope are critical to survival."

Lung and bronchus cancer was the most prevalent form of cancer from 2006-11 in Franklin County, averaging 740 cases per year, barely eclipsing breast cancer, with 732 cases per year.

Allan Mitchell, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2009, said the conference is a way to bring attention to a disease that afflicts so many people.

"It's a situation in which there's a stigma attached to lung cancer and the feeling it's self-imposed," said Mitchell, who lives on the North Side. "And that's a pretty unfair way to view lung cancer -- or any type of cancer, frankly."