The Stanicki family members, both human and canine, wore matching shirts at the Free to Breathe Walk in Augusta. Like many other groups at the walk, there’s a reason they’re taking part.”My father passed away August 26th, a few months ago, after a 5-year battle with lung cancer,” said Eric Stanicki.Eric and many others affected by lung cancer want to end the stigma surrounding the disease. Many believe lung cancer can be blamed soley on smoking. That’s one reason these walkers say the cause is underfunded, especially given the amount of people it affects.”It claims more lives than prostate, breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma combined. Most people don’t know that,” said Susan Smedley Gerber of the National Lung Cancer Partnership.Together the participants raised over $35,000 for the National Lung Cancer Partnership. But fundraising is only part of what this walk’s about.”It’s about awareness. It’s about hope. It’s about research and it’s about community support, bringing folks together and telling their stories,” said event chair Deb Violette.Stanicki said, “It’s nice to see everybody out here either ‘in memory of’ or survivors. We’re hoping that at some point the survivors outnumber the ‘in memory ofs.’”One step at a time, this group is working to make that hope a reality.