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Special thanks to our outgoing event chairs

  • November 29 2017

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    Special thanks to our outgoing event chairs

    Three of our dedicated event chairs are stepping down from their leadership roles at the end of the year and giving others in the lung cancer community an opportunity to get more involved.

    We thank Julie Drobny, Puget Sound; Becky Jacobson, Chelmsford; and Jim Dennison, Northern New Jersey for their outstanding service, and wanted to share how all three have led the way in their communities while raising awareness and funds for lung cancer research.

    JULIE DROBNY spearheaded the first Puget Sound event in 2008 and has worked hard behind the scenes ever since. The event just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Under Julie's watch, the event has raised a cumulative half a million dollars for lung cancer research!

    Julie was first moved to get involved with the Free to Breathe events program after her mom, Judy Cronk Cooley, was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer during a routine rotator cuff surgery in 2005.

    When Julie learned how little funding was available for lung cancer research, she was moved to create an event in her community. "More than anything, I wanted to promote HOPE for people dealing with lung cancer and raise awareness about this disease and the need for money to fund research," she recalls. Her mom attended in 2008 to cheer on the runners and walkers, and Judy's spirit is still present at the Puget Sound event each year.

    BECKY JACOBSON found Free to Breathe in 2011, shortly after Chelmsford's inaugural event. Her mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and Becky was looking for any way to support her. After serving on the planning committee, she volunteered to be event chair starting with the 2012 event, which took place a few months after her mom's passing.

    "Chairing the Chelmsford Free to Breathe event from 2011 to 2017 was truly a life changing experience," she says. "Not only did it help to keep my mom's memory alive, but I have met amazing people along the way who have truly helped to shape the Chelmsford event into what it is today."

    JIM DENNISON, a lung cancer survivor, came across the events program after his 5-year oncologist check. "I started looking for an outlet after being told I was disease free," he explains.

    He researched different groups and called Free to Breathe because its positive approach resonated with him. He found out the nearest event to him was in Philadelphia, and volunteered to establish a walk nearer his home in northern New Jersey.


    Volunteers like Julie, Becky, and Jim make the Free to Breathe events program possible. We’re looking for people like you to continue in their footsteps. As Becky notes, "There are a multitude of opportunities to get involved with the event and with the cause, all of which will help immensely in changing what a diagnosis of lung cancer means for patients and their families. By getting more involved you will truly be helping to ensure that surviving lung cancer is the expectation, not the exception."

    The Lung Cancer Research Foundation’s Free to Breathe events program holds run/walks and yoga fundraisers across the country. To learn more about how you can get involved, contact


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