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Philadelphia social worker prepares for 100-mile bike ride to support lung cancer patients

Philadelphia social worker prepares for big ride to support lung cancer patients
Philadelphia social worker prepares for big ride to support lung cancer patients 02:26

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A social worker from Fox Chase will be riding 100 miles to help people with lung cancer Sunday. Her ride will support the group Ride Hard Breathe Easy, which raises money and awareness for patients with lung cancer and their families. 

Lisa Etkins is getting ready for the marathon ride to help patients like Foy Staley, who has stage 4 lung cancer.

"It's quite a battle. I would say that the thing that really affects me the most is the breathing," Staley said.

The retired teacher says she also struggles financially. 

"Cancer has derailed me in many ways," Staley said. 

It's a concern that Etkins hears from many patients 

"Treatment, unfortunately bills pile up. Those costs are astronomical at times," Etkins said.

She found help for patients with a nonprofit called Ride Hard Breathe Easy.

"That supports patients for offsetting costs for groceries and utility bills and helping with transportation," Staley said.

"They've been a tremendous resource for me. Big help financially, helping me with gas cards, helping me with paying bills that I can't afford right now because I'm going through so much," Staley said.

Etkins is helping raise money for Ride Hard Breath Easy with a special Peloton distance event on Sunday called PeloFondo, where she'll ride 100 miles.

"It's exhausting, but I do it because I can. And I have all my patients on my shoulder and push them forward, and I think of them and what they go through, and why not," Etkins said.

She's done the 100-mile fundraising rides for the past three years with friends and cheering support from her family.

It will take about six hours, Etkins said.

"It's a long day, but we eat snacks along the way, and we take one break in the middle," she said.

She says it's a labor of love for patients like Staley who need help. 

Ride Hard Breath Easy has a number of different events all over the country. It was started by a man from Montgomery County to honor his mother who had lung cancer.

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