Fitchburg resident Renee Wolfgramm is grateful she shared her mother’s lung cancer diagnosis with the right friend last year.
That friend had already been invited to join the Free to Breathe yoga event in Madison benefiting the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, and suggested Wolfgramm join her given the news.
As it turned out, the event and organization were “a phenomenal resource.”
“It was just really incredible, the resources and the sense of community and the support that the organization provided to me and my family,” Wolfgramm told the Star. “Just learning a lot more about how lung cancer is being treated and the research required to continue to move the needle.”
This year’s event begins at 8 a.m. for check in, with an opening rally at 8:45 a.m. and yoga beginning at 9 a.m.. The day will conclude at 3 p.m. It costs $50 to register, with proceeds going to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.
There is a “Wellness Marketplace” that runs concurrent to the yoga, so any breaks can be spent shopping for different products.
There will also be music and snacks available.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women — about 13 percent of all new cancers overall. ACS estimates it will cause about 142,670 deaths this year, “by far the leading cause of cancer death,” its website states.
Wolfgramm was unaware of how common it is, and said she “certainly didn’t think it would ever happen to my mom,” who, she added, is doing well with treatments that were not even available when she was first diagnosed.
“That speaks to the power of the research that is happening,” Wolfgramm said. “There are a lot more positive outcomes than ever before.”
Wolfgramm added it’s an especially significant problem in Dane County, which is “kind of a hotbed for radon,” one of the causes of lung cancer.
“Most people in their life will know somebody who was impacted by this horrible disease. There’s a lot we can do to prevent it,” she said. “We want and need increased awareness in our community to help support the research to lead to more positive outcomes.”
And while that research is key in the big picture, Wolfgramm said the event is also valuable because of the relationships she’s made, which have “created a lasting impact on our family.”
“Most importantly, just meeting other people who are connected to lung cancer,” she said. “People who have lost loved ones and who are fighting so hard to make a change to help other people avoid this.”
You don’t even need to be a yoga expert, Wolfgramm added.
“Your average person, whether they’ve tried yoga before or not, could enjoy this event,” she said. “A lot of it is about just taking a step back and being present in the moment and incorporating some healthy things into your life.”
For information or to register, visit lcrf.org/madison.