In the fall of 2009, Monica Barlow was an apparently healthy 32-year-old training for a half marathon when a nagging cough sent her to see a doctor. The doctor recommended a CT scan, which revealed a spot on Barlow’s left lung: stage IV cancer. The diagnosis shocked Barlow, a non-smoker who is the director of public relations for the Orioles. “I have little to no history of cancer in my family,” she says. “It’s impossible to know if it was environmental or a genetic thing.”
Surprisingly, Barlow’s case is not all that unusual. According to the LUNGevity Foundation—the nation’s largest lung-cancer-focused nonprofit—more than half those diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or have already quit. Furthermore, the prognosis for lung cancer patients is worse than for breast and prostate cancers sufferers. More awareness is needed, and the foundation spreads the word through a series of nationwide Breathe Deep walks, one of which will take place inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 22.
Barlow, who is managing her disease with a mixture of treatments, will be there. After participating in the Breathe Deep D.C. event for the past two years, she is happy that the foundation has chosen to locate a walk in Baltimore, and even happier that it will be in the ballpark.
“I don’t think [the Orioles] have ever allowed a walk within the ballpark before, so it’s an opportunity to be on the field in Camden Yards, so that’s pretty unique,” she enthuses.
The event, which begins at 9 a.m., is an untimed 5K walk/run with prizes given to top fundraisers, plenty of children’s activities, a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, and an appearance by Orioles Hall of Famer Chris Hoiles. More information can be found at lungevity.org/baltimore.