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Beating lung cancer in Bedford

Tenth annual 5K event to be held Sunday

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 30, 2017

BEDFORD, N.S. – It kills more people than the other top three forms of cancer combined, yet lung cancer doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves, according to Jean St-Amand.
“Most people associate it with smoking, therefore it’s preventable and predictable, etc.,” he said. “They don’t think about the fact that 20 per cent of the diagnoses have nothing to do with smoking at all… or that if we actually directed some money toward solving it, that on a variety of levels we would saving a lot of lives.”
It was with this in mind that St-Amand started the Bedford 5Kto Beat Lung Cancer nine years ago. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, July 2.

The 10th annual Bedford 5K to Beat Lung Cancer will take place on Sunday, July 2. Shown here is the start of the 2011 race.

Photo courtesy of Jean St-Amand

A runner for a couple of years, he had been flirting with the idea of starting a charity run in Bedford’s beautiful DeWolfe Park waterfront area, but had not decided on a cause. Then his father was diagnosed with lung cancer.
As he began researching the supports that were available to his father, St-Amand found very little. He also began searching to see what opportunities there were to support lung cancer as a cause.
“There was really nothing at the time,” he said. “There still isn’t much that targets lung cancer specifically, even today.”
Within 7-8 months, St-Amand had set up the inaugural Bedford 5K, lining it up as part of the annual Bedford Days festival. It is an arrangement that has worked ever since, because they can share equipment that is already on site.
Being held on the Canada Day long weekend has given the event some ups and downs over the years, however.
“I’ve discovered that if the event is too close to Canada Day, it actually mutes the number of people that will come to the event,” he said. “This year, for example, registration numbers are down a bit because it’s right after Canada Day and it falls on a weekend, so we wind up on a day everyone is going to be out having a drink the night before our run.
“If it was on any other weekend, with no ties to the long weekend, it wouldn’t have the same degree of up and down,” he added.
Because his primary objective is the awareness component, St-Amand’s goal is to get the most participants he can. As of Wednesday , there were about 140 registered and about 100 more have traditionally turned up on race day, weather cooperating. He is hoping to see more than 200 come out again this year.
Special rates for the 5K are available for youths, seniors, teams and families. A 500m kids’ run will also be held.
For more on the Bedford 5K to Beat Lung Cancer, visit here .