BALTIMORE (WJZ) — More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States every year, and about 20 percent of them are non-smokers.
It happened to a beloved member of the Baltimore Orioles organization. WJZ’s Ron Matz reports that she, and many others, will be remembered this weekend at LUNGevity’s Breathe Deep Baltimore 5K.
In 2012, Orioles PR director Monica Barlow celebrated as the team won its wild card playoff game in Texas. She was fighting cancer at the time, as she had been doing since 2009.
“Monica never picked up a cigarette in her life,” says her husband, Ben Barlow.
She was 36 when she died of the disease in 2014.
This weekend’s walk, which is being held in her memory, will raise money to fight the cancer she battled for four-and-a-half years while continuing to work for the O’s.
“She worked the same schedule,” Ben says. “Long hours and road trips. It was always important to her that nothing less be expected from her. She demanded perfection of herself and her job. She didn’t want anybody to feel sorry for her. Lung cancer was a part of her life but she didn’t want lung cancer ever to define her. She never wanted people to identify her with the disease.”
The walk route will be around Ravens Stadium and back around Camden Yards with the final lap around the field, ending near the dugout.
“I think Monica would be the first to say the walk is really a chance to show support for others. She’d be touched that everybody tries to remember her so much and I’m always touched by that and so is our family,” Ben says.
Monica Barlow’s cousin, Jody Baker, says the walk is “a great family event.”
“We have a lot of kids. We have a scavenger hunt this year. We’re not trying to make this a sad event, this is a happy event. We’re trying to educate people and help raise some money in the process.”
You can still register for the walk or donate at WWW.LUNGEVITY.ORG.