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Run and raise funds on your own time

November 7, 2018

Looking for your next fundraising run? Consider making your own track with the online Running Lungs campaign.

Linda Wortman, a former Mayo Clinic lung cancer patient, has organized a virtual race to raise interest and awareness of lung cancer.

The beauty of the virtual race, Wortman said, is that it allows participants to complete 5K, 10K, or half-marathon courses that they choose on their own time.

The Wortman Lung Cancer Foundation pledges $5,000 a year to the Longitudinal Healthy Lungs Research Project, a project by Mayo Clinic doctor Bruce Johnson.

The virtual race will help Wortman achieve that goal, she said, and any additional funds raised go to lung cancer research as well.

However, there’s another benefit — anyone who signs up for the virtual race will also have the option of becoming involved with the study.

The Longitudinal Healthy Lungs Research Project uses a variety of apps and technological aids to increase awareness about pulmonary research, while investigating the influences of genetics and environment on lung function as people age.

The authors of the study would like to collect data from 200 more participants in the next year.

Keeping an eye on their lung health isn’t the only benefit, though. Participants will also be mailed a “swag bag” with a finisher medal, award, T-shirt, and peak flow meter to measure their breathing, Wortman said. It’s all the same kinds of stuff you’d get from joining an in-person race.

Wortman also has a personal interest in decreasing the stigma against lung cancer patients. About a decade ago, Wortman, a never-smoker, was part of the 10 percent to 15 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer without any influence from tobacco.

Last year, her team donated nearly $60,000 to Mayo Clinic lung cancer research in the Team Draft challenge.

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