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Free to Breathe Event Organizers Honored by Community Group

  • March 14 2013

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    Every year, dozens of volunteer Free to Breathe® event organizers dedicate incredible amounts of time and energy to building awareness of lung cancer in their community and raising funding for lung cancer research. Tiffany Hudak and Julie Miller are no exception. The organizers of the Free to Breathe 5K in Athens, GA, the pair has been dedicated to serving their community through Free to Breathe for five years.

    This year, both were recognized by their local Athens Oconee Junior Women's Club for their efforts! Tiffany was named Family Woman of the Year, and Julie was named Club Citizen of the Year. Congratulations Julie and Tiffany! I am grateful to work with these two amazing advocates, and proud to call them a part of the Free to Breathe family!

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    After the awards ceremony, Julie was happy to share with us why these awards are so special to her and Tiffany:

    "I was so excited and completely surprised by winning this award because I have only been a member of the AOJWC for one year.  Needless to say, it means so much to me to know that the women in the club recognize the hard work Tiff and I put into our Free to Breathe event. This was year number five for us and was by far the best year yet. We saw the event grow into what we have been wanting it to be: an opportunity for those affected by lung cancer in our community to come out and support each other. The event has been an amazing opportunity to make new lifelong friendships with people who know what you have gone through and know the impact lung cancer can have on your life, and raise money for valuable research!

    This event is close to my heart because I became involved with Free to Breathe after losing my mom to lung cancer. She lost her battle with stage IV lung cancer in July, 2005, just one month before the birth of my daughter. When I was finally ready after the birth of my son in 2007, I searched for events or organizations in the Athens area that supported lung cancer. I wanted to change the face of lung cancer and make a difference for my children. One night at work I was reading an article about a co-worker and turned the page to find an article about Tiffany Hudak, Mrs. Georgia, and her platform - lung cancer and the National Lung Cancer Partnership! It was meant to be.......I gave her a call and we have been working together ever since. The Free to Breathe staff and organizers are a second family to me now!

    I really saw how important Free to Breathe is in our community and what an impact it could have this year with one survivor who touched so many lives. And because of her passion for Free to Breathe and what it meant to her during her battle with lung cancer, the support for Free to Breathe in our community grew enormously. She wanted to tell her story and tell how Free to Breathe had impacted her. Although she passed away late last year, her impact will live on. We will miss her so much this year; but she inspired and impassioned our community and Tiffany and I want to continue for many years to come, not only to honor our mothers but to continue her fight. We have met so many people now that have been touched by lung cancer and want to get involved.  It is simply amazing - I can't wait until Free to Breathe Athens 2013!!!!"

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    As the weather starts to warm up, more Free to Breathe events are being held around the country! To find an event near you, or to support a participant or team, please visit FreetoBreathe.org.

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