PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - When Pamela Newsome began running five years ago, it was to help lower her blood pressure and allow her to live a healthier life. Now her running is a way to promote a healthier lifestyle for her patients.
"If I can be a positive influence to any of them, I think I've done my job," she said.
Newsome, a physician's assistant at the Shelby Valley Clinic, is preparing to run the New York City Marathon for the third year but she is not running for her own health. She is running for the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation.
"Their goal is to raise money for prevention of lung cancer through education and research," Newsome said. "Anyone at any time can be diagnosed with lung cancer. Whether they're smokers, non-smokers, former smokers."
She said nationally 45 in every 100,000 people will be impacted by lung cancer.
"Kentucky actually leads the nation in lung cancer incident rates and death rates," said Newsome.
In Eastern Kentucky, she said that rate is three times the national statistic.
"Sometimes, until you see those numbers and realize how epidemic it is," she said. "I mean, it's really scary."
That's why she decided to dedicate her running to raise awareness about lung cancer and help promote a cause that is searching for ways to treat and diagnose the issues at an early stage.
She said the foundation has raised $10 million since it was founded in 2003, all of which has been used to find information and treatments for lung cancer.
She said she councils her patients and provides them with that information as a way to help the region understand the dangers and how to beat the odds.