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updated: 9/16/2013 11:45 AM

Take Out Lung Cancer fundraiser at Potbelly

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Andy Richardson

A Give Back Night for Breathe Deep Naperville will be held from 4 -- 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Potbelly Sandwich Works, 236 S. Washington St. in Naperville. Proceeds will go to the 11th annual "Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer." The walk and rally benefit LUNGevity, a not-for-profit organization with the mission to unite the country in one movement to "…end lung cancer now."

Potbelly will donate 25 percent of total sales during the four hours of fundraising. In addition, registration forms for the November walk will be available.

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"We always like to get involved with community activities, and this is a fantastic cause," said Jeremy Morar, general manager for Potbelly. "This will be our second year helping with this fundraiser and we are excited to see this turn into an annual event."

This year Melissa Fosco of Naperville is co-chairman of the LUNGevity walk for lung cancer with Michele Bowles of Elmhurst.

When Fosco was just nine years old, her mother died of breast cancer. Then four years ago her mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and lost her battle after just two years. That same month Fosco and her husband heard about the LUNGevity walk, and they participated in her memory. She has been involved ever since.

"I am very excited to be co-chairing the walk and to help this organization grow," Fosco said. "We are very focused on early detection, targeted therapies and genetic links which will save lives."

The walk and rally was founded by Renee Kosiarek of Naperville. After her father died of lung cancer 11 years ago, she set out with great passion to raise money and awareness of the deadly disease and, like "The Little Engine that Could," the walk has gained momentum from the humble event of 100 people and now brings around 500 together to celebrate survivorship and to remember those we have lost.

Since 2002, LUNGevity-funded research projects have totaled more than $15 million. This represents an investment in 100 projects at 56 institutions in 23 states. About 60% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers and 1 in every 14 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer. There is hope and you can help.

Potbelly Sandwich Works started as an antique store run by a couple. They started serving lunch to their customers, and over time, the antique shop turned into a lunchtime getaway complete with toasty warm sandwiches, homemade desserts and even live music. The original Potbelly's in Chicago, IL, was acquired in 1996 by Bryant Keil. Today there are more than 270 Potbelly Sandwich Shops in neighborhoods across the country.

The 11th Annual Breathe Deep Naperville: A Walk & Rally to Stop Lung Cancer will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, starting at the Riverwalk Park Grand Pavillion, 500 W. Jackson, Naperville. For more information, visit http://www.lungevity.org/naperville.

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