Widow of lung cancer victim organizes run in his memory

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Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and a local woman is doing something to honor her late husband.

Jacob Cooter died from lung cancer. Doctors say the cancer had been growing for years, and if they'd done things differently when he first complained of pain, he may be alive today.

"I miss him every day because he was my soul mate, my running partner,” Brenda Cooter said.

Jacob passed away in the ICU at Fort Gordon in 2016. He was a Vietnam veteran.

“He complained about a place in his back bothering him in 2011, so I told him to go out to Fort Gordon,” Brenda said. "They did x-rays and they did blood work and they told him he was fine."

But Jacob became a part of the 20 percent of people who never smoked and got lung cancer. Brenda says it wasn't until his 7th check-up when doctors ordered a CT scan.

“And they told him he had at least stage 3 lung cancer,” Brenda said.

By then it was too late to treat. Jacob lost his battle along with 433 people who die every day from lung cancer.

"I think if they had done a CT scan in 2011 he would still be here,” Brenda said.

Now Brenda is raising awareness and money.

"If you've had x-rays and you had tests done and you still have a persistent problem, ask your doctor to get you a CT scan,” Brenda said.

She's doing it in a way to honor Jacob.

After more than 100 half marathons, seven full marathons and rooms full of medals and trophies, it's safe to say Jacob loved running.

"He ran until he was almost 79 and the cancer stopped him -- not his age,” Brenda said.

All proceeds from the race she's organizing will go towards helping military families.

"I like to help the veterans because America wouldn't be America -- wouldn't exist without our military,” Brenda said.

The Jacob Cooter Memory Run is this Saturday at the Augusta Canal near Lake Olmstead.

To register for the race, click here.

For more information about lung cancer screenings, click here.

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