‘Our goal is to live with cancer and not die from it,’ say lung cancer survivors ahead of Free to Breathe event

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SEATTLE — Survivors of lung cancer and their families are inviting everyone to join them for the annual Free to Breathe 5k Run\Walk in Tacoma’s Wright Park on Saturday, September 17.

Not being able to breathe is one of the things Danielle Juillerat-Compton has always feared.

“And then to be told I had lung cancer terrified me,” she said.

Doctors discovered it during a scan for breast cancer two years ago.

"The one in my neck turned out to be breast cancer. The one in my lung turned out to be lung cancer, not metastatic breast cancer but its own cancer," said Juillerat-Compton.

She had surgery for both and surprising, the breast cancer treatment knocked out the lung cancer.

"They weren't expecting that to happen."

She is in remission but still deals with shortness of breath. After she was diagnosed, Juillerat-Compton learned there aren't as many treatments for lung cancer because there's not as much funding for research. Like everyone else participating in the Free to Breath event, she's asking people to sponsor her to raise money.

Fife's Peggy Horner is also participating. She takes daily  targeted medicine for her lung cancer.

"Our goal is to live with cancer and not die from it," said Horner.

Germaine Korum is also a survivor. She was diagnosed in 2012.

"I had some symptoms that I kind of thought maybe, but no doctor took me seriously and said, 'oh, your just a little overweight," said Korum.

The cancer was so bad it had spread to her back, causing severe pain in her side.

"I find a lot of people don't take lung cancer seriously," said Korum.

Her family will be walking to raise money again this year.  The message they really want to get across is that survival should be the expectation, not the exception.

"I think the most important thing and I thought about this coming here today is hope," said Cathy Schrock, who lost her best friend to lung cancer. She leads Team Lynn every year.

"I couldn't believe that the survival rate for lung cancer was only 15 percent," said Schrock.

If you would like to sign up for the event, go to www.freetobreathe.org/pugetsound