The Gamper Family has been a vocal advocate and fundraiser for the LUNGevity Foundation since 2014. They lost Maria Rixey Gamper in March of 2016 and now carry on their efforts in her memory. Dick, her husband, carries her torch. Catherine, Richard, Charles, Stuart, Laura, Alice, McKee, Charlie and Jay round out her immediate family and represent two rising generations striving to make an impact in the fight against lung cancer.
How did you first get involved with LUNGevity as a fundraiser?
It was Maria’s idea. As she navigated the disease -- the treatments, the surgeries, the pain -- she found LUNGevity as a way to connect with and give back to others and to run toward, rather than away from, the fight. She inspired us to learn more, meet new people and explore how we could carry on her fight when she no longer could.
How did you choose how you wanted to fundraise? (i.e., coordinating a Breathe Deep event, running as part of Team LUNGevity, creating your own DIY event, etc)
For decades, the Baltimore Orioles have brought our family together. We have been season ticket holders since the Memorial Stadium days and consider Camden Yards to be a home away from home. It just felt natural to partner with the Breathe Deep Baltimore event, which for many years, has been held at Camden Yards. It has been a true blessing to connect with and support the Barlows, the Humphries, the Gembickis and many others who walk alongside us.
What are your goals? (Fundraising, raising awareness, finish under a certain time, building a community, etc.)
We want to celebrate Maria’s life, love and courage by supporting those who are fighting now and those that are sure to come. We hope to see more survivors (i.e. green shirts) at the walk, but at a deeper level, we hope that the walk, and really all lung cancer events, shrink over time in response to the amazing work of the researchers, doctors, nurses and caregivers of all sorts in fighting the disease. We want to say thank you, and make sure all of those people feel the appreciation that they deserve.
What gives you hope?
Our children and grandchildren living a life where a deep breath isn’t taken for granted. A future where the air is cleaner, cigarettes are gone and forgotten, and lung cancer is an inconvenience rather than a sentence. The energy and devotion of the LUNGevity community is inspiring and reflects that there are brighter, cleaner and easier days ahead.
Join the Gamper Family at this year's Breathe Deep Baltimore on September 22, 2019. Not a Baltimore local? Find an event near you and join other families like the Gampers, raising awareness and funds for lung cancer.
LUNGevity Spotlight is a way to highlight people living with lung cancer, caregivers, volunteers, and fundraisers who are making a positive impact in the LUNGevity community. We hope that their stories will inspire and encourage many more to get involved.
If you know someone in the LUNGevity community whom you'd like us to Spotlight, please nominate them here.