WASHINGTON (Warren) — Patricia Seugling never met her mother-in-law, whose death from lung cancer happened before the Warren County Technical School teacher ever met her husband.

But her inherent connection to the disease resonated with her students, both as the school's TV, radio, and digital media instructor and, more crucially, as the adviser for their Key Club chapter.

The Key Club members have chosen to cap off their service commitments for this school year by putting together a 5K run/walk to raise money for Free to Breathe, a charity that focuses on funding lung cancer research. That event will be Saturday morning, June 3, at the school in this township.

Seugling said one thing she hopes the race is able to emphasize is that smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. For instance, her mother-in-law never smoked a day in her life.

"Especially in today's world, with emissions, with exposure to other pollutants, anything can cause lung cancer to develop in anybody," Seugling said.

According to the school's press release about the 5K, the survival rate for a diagnosis of lung cancer of any kind is just 17 percent, a number Seugling called "ridiculously low." Funding, however, is lacking.

"Everybody knows of breast cancer walks and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and prostate cancer and 'No-Shave November' and things like that, but no one really hears too much about lung cancer — but it's so, so deadly," Seugling said.

She added that Free to Breathe is the only organization she knows of that allocates nearly all of the money it takes in to further investigation into a cure.

"They basically take all their money and they fund grants, and those grants go directly to particular doctors at particular hospitals and universities, and that goes right to research," she said.

Seugling urges those who cannot participate on June 3 (registration at freetobreathe.org/wctswalk) to check out one of Free to Breathe's other sponsored races later in the year: Oct. 1 in Succasunna, or Oct. 21 in Asbury Park.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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