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Tigard man honoring father in Free to Breathe 5K

Brian Holman running with Standard Insurance team on Aug. 21

COURTESY OF BRIAN HOLMAN - Bob Holman, pictured here playing football for Southern Oregon University, was not a smoker, his son Brian said, but he somehow contracted lung cancer and died of the disease 10 years ago. Brian Holman is participating in the Free to Breathe Run/Walk next month to honor his dad.When Tigard resident Brian Holman takes part in the Free to Breathe Run/Walk on Aug. 21 in Portland, he’ll be running for a very personal reason.

Holman’s father wasn’t a smoker, but he was still one of an estimated 162,460 Americans to die in 2006 from lung cancer.

“We don’t really know how he developed lung cancer, obviously, but he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer — probably in 2004, I believe — and had a very poor prognosis,” Holman recalled. “And just watching him go through an incredibly painful, gut-wrenching process of chemotherapy, radiation ... when I learned about this, it just made me feel like it was a way to honor him.”

Holman said he used to be more active in running 5Ks, but doesn’t do them much anymore. Free to Breathe is an exception. Last year, Holman was the team captain for his company, Standard Insurance, at the event. He said he heard about it from colleagues at work who participated.

“As I learned more about it, the more interested I became in getting involved,” he said.

Holman admitted he doesn’t know of many other people from Tigard who participate in the annual 5K.

“I definitely hope to increase that this year,” he said. “I think it’s mostly been Portland-based, but I’m hoping to get some of my network and some of my friends and family to be more participative and increase that as the years go on.”

Lung cancer causes more deaths than any other type of cancer in the United States. Holman pointed out that virtually everyone has been touched by the disease in some way. He sees running the 5K and raising money for Free to Breathe, a nonprofit group with a goal of decreasing lung cancer’s mortality rate, as a way to honor its victims.

“This is a really easy way to participate,” he said. “Free to Breathe is a great organization that makes it easy to raise money and get together.”

The Free to Breathe Run/Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Main Street Plaza along the Eastbank Esplanade, located at 5 S.E. Madison St. in Portland.

More information, including instructions on how to register or donate, is available at participate.freetobreathe.org/site/TR?fr_id=3293.