Feeling Fit – November 7th 2015

Today is the SWFL Lung Cancer Run/Walk and Mile of Memories Memorial Walk, commemorating the start of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve worked hard all year to make this race the biggest event it can be, but as of this writing, it may turn out to be the smallest event since I started running this race in 2009. If you are reading this story, please come out to show your support, even if it is just to be there for the 30 minute rally at the end of the race (around 9:30 AM).

We’ve had a relatively small group of walkers and runners pre-register for the event, compared to years gone by. It’s discouraging, especially since we have a large e-mail distribution list with the names of people who have participated in the past. I’m not sure I know why paid registrations are so low. Maybe people are just tired of running and are looking for something different to do?

I had a series of live interviews with Wink TV this morning and the interviewer, John Trierweiler, suggested that we should to do is organize a race to the top of a tall building, like they do in Chicago. Only one problem; in Charlotte County we don’t have tall buildings.

There is an event called “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” where advocates in Boston get building owners and tenants to leave their lights on overnight in the shape of a ribbon. It’s another good idea, but, again, we don’t have the buildings to do it. Maybe someone at Cheney Bros. new distribution facility who reads this column, could suggest to management that they project a giant white ribbon on their new building so people driving up and down I75 can see it at night? That could help shine a light on lung cancer. How about it Cheney Brothers?

I don’t know who to talk to at the Punta Gorda Post Office, but management there needs to know that I noticed the store front was decked out in pink the entire month of October. I wonder what the Punta Gorda Post Office going to do for women with lung cancer in November? If you stop in there this month, please ask.

I know the White House was lit up in pink in October. Since pearl white is the color of lung cancer and the White House is already lit up white all year long, could we just declare the White House to be the “Lung Cancer White” House in November? I’m sure some creative mind in Washington D.C. could come up with something to recognize lung cancer awareness month.

Last year at this time I went to the NY Stock Exchange with the hopes of ringing the opening bell. There was a chance we could have done that, had we not gotten bumped by an IPO. Oh well, at least Yoko and I got to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway and have some excellent meals.

Since we are having poor participation at the annual race this year, I’ve been thinking of other ways to make a statement. One idea was to create 460 cardboard angels to sit in the stands. These would represent the number of people we lost to lung cancer in Charlotte County this year alone. I wish I had thought of this eight years ago. By now we could fill the stadium with those unnamed angels.

I saw an article in the newspaper about a grieving husband suing R.J. Reynolds here in Charlotte County claiming tobacco products caused the death of his wife. The verdict assigned the wife 98% blame for causing her own death by smoking. The plaintiff was awarded $5000. That verdict pretty well sums up people’s attitude. Didn’t the jury know that R.J. Reynolds had purposely made their products more addictive? I called Morgan and Morgan this week to see if I could bring my own lawsuit, but they turned me down flat. I explained that I don’t want the money, just the publicity.

Anyway, as you can tell, I am raging an uphill battle. Right now it feels like I am not winning. But it doesn’t matter. If I am unable to light a fire under people to care passionately about this issue, so be it. People’s indifference won’t deter me from trying, because I know in my heart that what I am trying to do does matter.

If you want to join me to make a difference, wear a white ribbon on your lapel this month and let people know you support the fight against lung cancer. Thank you for your support!

Thomas E Cappiello is an eight year lung-cancer survivor and founder and president of The Lung Cancer Research Council, Inc., a non-profit charity dedicated to promoting lung cancer awareness, screening and early detection. Write to him at tcappiello@np.zypha.com or visit www.lungcancerresearchcouncil.org