One suburban mother is turning her family tragedy into a way to help others through a fundraising walk around Lake Arlington this weekend.
At age 76, Naomi Moderick is organizing her first charity event to honor her late son Mark Segal, who died last year of lung cancer only 3 months after being diagnosed with the disease.
Segal, whose family lives in Wheeling, was 55 when he died in March 2011.
"Mark loved to ride his bike around Lake Arlington and it's such a beautiful place, so I knew it would be a fitting place to honor him," Moderick said.
The 2- or 4-mile Breathe Deep Lake Arlington walk will raise money for LUNGevity Foundation, a national lung cancer research and patient support organization. According to LUNGevity, about 160,000 people die of lung cancer each year.
"I wanted to do something not only to honor Mark, but also to help other lung cancer patients. He suffered a lot and I hope that maybe with more research and more money I can help so other people don't suffer as much," she said.
Participants can donate money, or sign up online at http://events.lungevity.org/site/TR?fr_id=3610&pg=entry or on the day of the walk.
According to the fundraising page, the Breathe Deep Lake Arlington walk already has raised more than $15,000.
Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 at Lake Arlington, 2201 N. Windsor in Arlington Heights.
Participants also can honor a lost loved one or celebrate a survivor with honor markers, each with a customized tribute message. Honor markers are placed along the event course to guide walkers and runners.
"Aside from wanting to honor Mark, this is bittersweet for me," Moderick said. "Although it is difficult to face the fact that Mark is really gone, it is very healing for me at the same time."