By Kristina Houck
Promising a fun-filled day at the racetrack for a good cause, the Lung Cancer Foundation of America will host its fifth annual “Day at the Races” event July 27 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Tickets cost $150 and include entry into the private Turf Club, a tour of the paddock area and a private betting window. The event will also feature a special “Breath of Life” race to raise awareness about lung cancer and support lung cancer research, as well as a silent auction and raffle drawing.
“It’s just a really fun event for a really good cause,” said Kim Norris, co-founder and president of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America.
Lung cancer is the nation’s top cancer killer, yet it ranks near the bottom in research funding.
To raise awareness of lung cancer and funds for research, Norris co-founded the nonprofit organization in 2007 with David Sturges, an attorney in Minnesota, and Lori Monroe, a registered nurse in Kentucky — both lung cancer survivors. After a 12-year battle with the disease, Monroe died in 2013.
After losing her husband, Roy, to lung cancer in 1999, Norris devoted her life to being a lung cancer patient advocate. She remains a volunteer with the organization, which has raised about $1.3 million for lung cancer research since it first launched.
“Lung cancer kills twice as many women as breast cancer and three times as many men as prostate cancer, yet it only gets a fraction of the funding,” said Norris, who previously worked as a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies for 30 years.
“Not only am I proud of the money we have raised and the research we have funded, but almost more so, I’m proud of the role that we play within the lung cancer community. We’re kind of a connective tissue between the lung cancer research community and the lung cancer community of survivors, families and the general public.”
Former Rancho Santa Fe resident and lung cancer survivor Paula Friendly, a longtime supporter of the foundation and horseracing enthusiast, started “Day at the Races” five years ago. Her late husband, Hollywood producer Ed Friendly, was a founding member of the National Thoroughbred Association and established the Thoroughbred Owners of California in 1993.
Last year, actress and lung cancer advocate Valerie Harper attended the event, which attracted about 80 people.
“To make a difference, we need people to get involved and engaged,” Norris said. “This is a wonderful way to learn more about lung cancer and learn more about ways you can get involved with like-minded people who have been through the same thing.”
The “Day at the Races” event will take place from noon to 6:30 p.m. July 27 in the Il Palio Restaurant at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Races begin at 2 p.m.
To inquire about tickets or sponsorships, contact Cindy Iker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Lung Cancer Foundation of America or to purchase tickets for the event, visit www.lcfamerica.org.