Breathe Deep walk raises awareness, remembers founder


Sam Falb, Online News Editor

On November 9, thousands assembled in D.C. at the Washington Monument to participate in the “Breathe Deep” charity walk. In its ninth year as a multinational effort to raise money to fund research for combating lung cancer, the event saw thousands of volunteers, walkers and speakers alike, as well as invaluable donations and support that those who made the five-kilometer trek contributed.
The walk itself is sponsored by the LUNGevity Foundation, a leader in the international effort to combat lung cancer. The foundation hosts a myriad of 5K events in 25 states throughout the U.S., along with having an online blog, survivor and caregiver resource centers and a lung cancer support community.
“LUNGevity has the largest national network of local events aimed at raising money for lifesaving lung cancer research and creating awareness about the disease. Join thousands of lung cancer patients, survivors, families, friends and advocates who are helping to create a world where no one dies of lung cancer,” the LUNGevity events section of the organization’s website reads.
In just D.C.’s Breathe Deep walk this year alone, over $360,000 was raised and 1,775 individuals participated in the event. Over the course of the nine years of D.C.’s walk, about three million dollars has been raised to counter lung cancer.
This year’s walk was also especially important and sentimental to many as the D.C. walk’s founder, Jerome Sorkin, had passed away of Stage 4 lung cancer just weeks before this year’s event. The speakers, along with attendees who knew Sorkin personally, spoke of his passion, profound commitment to the cause and his vision for a better world for those coming after him. Sorkin served as Board Vice Chair of the LUNGevity foundation and passed away on October 26.
“We walked every year with Jerry and now to support [his wife and kids, and to be a part of this community and hopefully raise awareness and money for lung cancer,” said Jill Ravitch, a Breathe Deep veteran and friend of the Sorkin family said.
Individuals such as local Channel 9 weatherman Doug Kammerer, LUNGevity foundation president Andrea Ferris and Tom Monahan of the Corporate Executive Board (Sorkin’s place of work), spoke about the progress and passion that the district’s Breathe Deep supporters bring to the event each year, as well as the success of D.C.’s event, being the largest both in donation size and participant count.
“[The walk] gets you breathing and gets you aware of all the people around you that are afflicted with lung cancer and care for those who are afflicted. It’s a lot more meaningful than writing a check or reading about something at home,” Brent Berger, a Breathe Deep walker and close friend of Sorkin said.