The 5th annual Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer 5K or 1 mile run or walk will be held virtually once again! There are two options. You can run or walk solo, or enter as part of a “twosome” to run or walk with a partner in the same location. There are two distances, 5K (3.1 miles) or 1 mile. You can run or walk anytime between August 4 and November 6, 2021. You will submit your own results online on the registration site at

100% of the profit from this event goes to Northwest Community Hospital Foundation’s Lung Cancer Fund to provide assistance for people diagnosed with lung cancer and treated at Northwest Community. We are now providing lung cancer screening for people who meet the criteria for this screening, but are not covered by insurance for this service and can’t afford the out of pocket cost. They  must demonstrate financial need through an application process. With the economic impact of COVID, there are more people in our community impacted financially by a  new diagnosis of lung cancer.


Post-event Lung Cancer Survivorship Celebration 11/6/21: This year, besides the virtual walk/run that can be completed and results submitted anytime up to and including 11/6/21, we will have a post-event celebration at the Deer Grove East Shelter, Picnic Grove #4 in Palatine, IL on Saturday, November 6 from 10AM to 12PM. All are welcome. You can enter from W Dundee Rd, just west of N Hicks Rd, Cook County, IL 60074. Parking is available. This event is to celebrate lung cancer survivorship and to remember those lost to lung cancer. There will be a brief talk by a lung cancer survivor and his daughter who supported him through diagnosis and treatment, followed by a 1 mile memorial walk along the path and a raffle.  There will be music, and COVID-friendly snacks and hot cocoa. Event T-shirts and finisher’s medals can be picked up at the event. If you are not planning on attending, your T-shirts and medals will be available for pickup at the hospital or can be mailed. Please RSVP by 11/2/21 for this event on 11/6 with number attending to For those who have lost someone to lung cancer, you can create a memorial sign to post along the walk with an 18 x 24 inch yard sign. If you plan to do this, contact me, I can provide blank signs which need to be turned in the day before the event.


Contact Juli Aistars at 847-343-9522 for questions or more information. Also visit

Panel 1

Our Cause

The “Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer” EVENT was created to:

  • help raise awareness about lung cancer;
  • celebrate survivors and those who lost their lives to lung cancer;
  • raise donations to help patients struggling with the financial burdens associated with fighting the disease;
  • We have added providing a no cost CT lung screen, a Gift-A-Lung Screen for those who meet the criteria but do not have insurance coverage and can’t afford the out of pocket cost at Northwest Community Hospital

Lung Cancer Quick Facts
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women – about 1 out of 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer. However, we are improving those odds with many diagnostic and treatment advances in recent years, including lung screening for those at high risk due to tobacco use. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The good news is that lung cancer deaths have decreased by 5% per year in men and 4% per year in women from 2014 to 2018 Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 14; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 17. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. The risk for smokers is higher than non-smokers. However, about 10-15% of people  diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked! Smoking and second-hand smoke are the top cause of lung cancer, but there are many factors, including radon as the #2 cause. To see the American Cancer Society 2021 Facts & Figures about Lung cancer, use this link. 

Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) in Arlington Heights is a leader in the prevention, and early detection of lung cancer for those at high risk. NCH is also a leader in the treatment and care of those living with lung cancer. They offer:

Life after Lung Cancer: A Survivor’s Story
Despite the serious prognosis of lung cancer, some people with earlier stage cancers are cured. More than 430,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Many of the stories of these survivors are inspiring! Hear Mary Jo’s story here.

Racing and Walking to Bring Hope & Awareness
By registering for and participating in the 2021 virtual  “Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer” 5k race  you are showing your support for people living with lung cancer and remembering those we lost to lung cancer. You may have a family member or a friend who has traveled this road. If so, you know that the decisions are never easy…

One hundred percent of the profit from the race after expenses goes to the NCH Foundation Lung Cancer Fund, which has been providing compassionate financial assistance since 2017 for those fighting lung cancer who have needed help with basic living expenses while undergoing treatment at NCH. If you are not able to run or walk a 5K in the outdoor place of your choice, you may still help by donating directly to the NCH Foundation Lung Cancer Fund. Please choose “Lung Cancer Fund” under the drop-down designation menu. In comments, write “Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer”. Thank you!!!

Panel 2

The Race & Walk

Please click here to register. 
The cost of the 5K or 1 Mile run/walk is $30 + plus a small processing fee. Online registration is currently open and closes by end of day, November 6, 2021. All registrants who sign up by end of day 10/1/2021 will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt with race logo. This deadline was extended to 10/10/21. All registrants who submit a time on the website before November 6, end of day, will receive a finisher’s medal with race logo and year. If you are part of a twosome, please submit your time by 10/23/21.  If you have any trouble entering your finish time, please contact the the Race Director, Juli, at or through the “Contact” button on this website.

Pre-race Packet Pickup – None for 2021, same as last year! You will get a race packet at the November 6, 2021 post-event celebration, or we will mail it to you at the address provided at registration. All registrants will receive their event T-shirt if they registered by 10/1/2021. If you submit your results by 10/23/21, you will receive your finisher’s medal, whether you are part of twosome or solo. If you submit results after 10/23, you will get a “solo” medal, but it may be delayed. For the “twosome” medals, please submit results by 10/23/21. 

Parking – Anywhere legal!

Starting Line – Participant’s choice – run anywhere outside, the distance of your choice. Run alone or “pair up” with someone and enter the race as a “twosome” by emailing the Race Director at, indicating “I am Pairing up for Lung Cancer” in the subject line and indicating your partner for the walk or run. 

Schedule  – Up to you, no worry about being late… Register and run or walk up to and including 11/6/2021. Please register by end of day 10/10/2021 to get an event T-shirt.
November 6, 2021, 10AM to 12PM – Post-event celebration and Lung Cancer Survivor Event at Deer Grove East, Picnic Grove #4, Palatine, IL.

Gear Check – Somewhere safe, make sure you can remember where you left it!

Results — You submit your own results. Directions on how to submit result are on the registration website at Follow this link for further instructions to submit virtual results. If it is still not clear, contact the Race Director, Juli. 

Water Stations – Bring your own water, preferably in a reusable bottle or cup. Please keep our environment clean!

Race Shirts
All participants who registered for the event by end of day 10/10/2021 will receive a race shirt with the event logo.  We have ordered additional shirts for those registering late. Please contact me if you did not have the option for a shirt at registration. We will do our best to make sure everyone who registered gets one. They can be picked up at the November 6 post-event celebration in Deer Grove East, Palatine. If not picked up on that date, your packets will be mailed unless you request pickup at Northwest Community Hospital. Please email the Race Director at to request in person pickup. It will save mailing cost so it can benefit patients applying for the NCH Lung Cancer Fund assistance instead of going postal :). If you have an address change after you sign up for the race, please be sure to update it so your shirt and medal go to the correct address.

Safety First
Please be safe, for example, run or walk during daylight hours. If you are going alone, let someone know where you are, carry your phone, and take any other reasonable precautions to ensure your safety.

Refunds/Rain Checks
No refunds, person-to-person transfers, rain checks or deferrals to a future year. We understand that plans change, injuries happen, and situations arise, but it’s our goal to apply a uniform policy to everyone. All registrations are final. Weather should  not be an issue since you have from August 1 through November 6 to plan and execute your run or walk.

5K Race Information – Run or walk anywhere you choose outdoors. You can use the 2019 courses in deer grove east, Palatine, if you wish. The course description is below.

5K Race Course
The 5K race course we have used in past years is USATF certified and sanctioned. It features a flat, fast route perfect for novice as well as experienced runners.  The looped course will take participants from Midtown Athletic Club onto the red loop bike path of Deer Grove East, follow the loop to the left for approximately 2.8 miles, then turn again to the left onto the sidewalk and return to Midtown Athletic Club. 

1 Mile Race Course
The one mile course will turn left as you get on the Deer Grove red loop path, the same as the 5K course. If you wish to have a cone marking the halfway point, feel free to place one. Or simply use your Garmin to measure 1/2 mile out and then return.

For either the 5K or 1 Mile event, you have two options:
You may run or walk alone or as part of a two person team (lungs come in pairs after all!) in the “twosome” division. For this option, the two partners each register separately. Please email me at to let me know who you are pairing up with – state “We are Pairing up for Lung Cancer” in the subject line. Twosomes can be any gender combination. So grab your neighbor, BFF, child or spouse and have fun pairing up to beat lung cancer!

Race Awards – A finisher’s medal can be picked up either at the post-event celebration or at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH). Otherwise, it will be mailed to all registrants who submits their results online to the address you provided with your registration.  Everyone who signs up by end of day 10/1/2021 will receive an event T-shirt which will be available at the post-event celebration on 11/6/21, can be picked up at NCH or it will be mailed. We do have some frisbees left as pictured below. Let us know if you would like one. They will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis. Make your requests by contacting us.


  • Solo Division – There will be a “solo” medal for all runners and walkers who complete their distance and submit results on by 11/6/21.
  • Twosome Division – Walk or run with a partner in the same location, either the 1 mile or the 5K. You will get a special “twosome” award if you let the Race Director know you are entered in a twosome, and you both submit finish times before 10/23/21. Your times should be identical if you “paired up”. Please email the Race Director at with “I am Pairing up to Beat Lung Cancer” in the subject line and the name of your partner. You can also hit the “Contact” button to let us know. 

Event T-shirt vote results in!!! Inquiring minds want to know…
The T-shirt you will receive is #4! Shirt designs by The Screen Machine, Elk Grove Village.


Panel 3

Prepare for Your run or walk

Preparing to run a race is more fun when you have a group to keep you motivated! Local running clubs offer scheduled fun runs, speed workouts and advice from members that will keep you on pace. Though COVID has curtailed or limited some of these options for training, the following is a list of possible options. Please contact them to find out if they are having group runs and if so, what precautions are in place to prevent the spread of COVID.

AMP’D Athletic Association
Alpine Runner of Lake Zurich
Busse Woods Running Club
Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team (Schaumburg)
HIP Athletic Association in Palatine
Libertyville Running Club
Dr. Nick Nowicki / Arlington Trotter Speed Workouts
Running in the USA is a good resource to help you locate a running club in your area.

Public Transit not needed this year!
The Metra train station that is nearest the race course from the live event last held in 2019 is located at 137 W. Wood Street in Palatine. The train line is the Metra Union Pacific Northwest. It is located about 3 miles from Midtown. You would need to take a cab or Uber – unless you want to walk or run a 5K before a 5K! This is also the closest transportation to get you to Deer Grove East for the post-event celebration planned on 11/6/21. We will be in Picnic Grove #4 – see map. I have asked for an RSVP for those that are relatively sure they will be able to attend this event. More information to come the week of 10/11/21.

Dressing for the Weather
If you’re looking for a new pair of athletic shoes or the perfect gear to keep you comfortable during the race or walk, the professionals at Runners High ‘n Tri have over 31 years of experience and are happy to help. You can run or walk in the weather of your choosing! Please be sure to dress for the weather for the post-event celebration on 11/6/21, since November can be unpredictable. We will have the use of the shelter in Picnic Grove #4, so we will have a roof over our heads.

Refunds/Rain Checks – This should not be an issue with a virtual run/walk
No refunds, no person-to-person transfers, rain checks or deferrals to a future year will be given. It should not be an issue since you have until November 6th to complete the run and submit your results. Remember, you must register by 10/1/2021 in order to get an event T-shirt. We understand that plans change, injuries happen, and situations arise, but we will apply a uniform policy to everyone.

Panel 4

Support Us

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported this cause in the past 3 years! Thank you to all the past sponsors, especially:

  • Northwest Community Hospital
    • Cancer Services, Administration & Marketing
  • Sodexo at Northwest Community Hospital
  • Jewel Osco, Palatine, IL
  • Midtown Athletic Club, Palatine
  • Farmer’s Insurance, Palatine
  • 3 individuals who I will not name without their permission, a dear man who has passed away, not from his lung cancer,  a generous man who has been a dear friend for many years, and an amazing lady who I have gotten to know over the past few years and who has worked tirelessly to support this fundraiser along with many of her family members with their time, donation of the shirts, great ideas, and generosity!!!

It takes many volunteers, donors, and hours, and some serious dedication and commitment to make an event like this successful — Val and I could not have pulled it off without all of you!!!

Thank You!!!

There are many ways you can help us in the fight to beat lung cancer:

No volunteers are needed this year, but you can help by signing up and/or donating to the NCH Lung Cancer Fund.

Donate to the Northwest Community Hospital Foundation. It is easy to donate and your tax-deductible contribution will help support those fighting lung cancer who are struggling to meet the financial burdens of care and treatment. Please choose “Lung Cancer Fund” under designation on the NCH Foundation “Give Now” page.

Become a sponsorContact us for more information. Or print and complete our Sponsor Form. Because the race is virtual in 2021, we are asking only for donations that can be used as a raffle prize. If you are a company who would like to be involved in some way, please contact us to discuss. Thank you!

Spread the word about the race and about the fight against lung cancer. Reach out to family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms so they will be inspired to participate, too!