NCH is part of Endeavor Health

Learn more

News  ›  Cancer Care

Nurse’s passion for running prompts lung cancer fundraiser

October 8, 2019

Register now for November 2 Lung Run/Walk

An advanced practice nurse and avid runner, Juli Aistars has seen firsthand the financially devastating effects of a lung cancer diagnosis. So three years ago, she started a fundraiser with her husband Valdis to help patients at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) where she works as a Lung Cancer Patient Navigator. You can help by registering for the 2019 Pairing Up to Beat Lung Cancer 5K/1 Mile Run/Walk scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 2, 2019 at Midtown Athletic Club, 1760 North Hicks Road in Palatine.

“Lung cancer has a stigma and doesn’t get the same amount of attention as breast cancer,” Aistars says. “I wanted to do something to help people and to raise awareness because no one deserves lung cancer, whether they smoked or not.”

Last year’s event raised over $13,000 for the NCH Foundation Lung Cancer Patient Assistance Fund.

Those who receive a lung cancer diagnosis and undergo treatment often face challenges of meeting basic living expenses as a result of their illness, says David Ungurean, NCH Foundation Executive Director.

“We are so grateful to race founder Juli Aistars and all who support this event,” Ungurean says. “These funds provide critical financial assistance to patients who are battling lung cancer. For them at such a vulnerable time in their lives, these small emergency grants can mean everything.”

About the race

Runners can compete individually in an open division or “pair up” to combine scores in a twosome division. Twosomes sign up together but are not obligated to run together. Their scores and ages are combined and then placed in the appropriate category.

Awards are given to the top overall male and female finisher and top two in male and female 5 year age categories for the 5K. Reusable timing tags are attached to the participant’s shoe to ensure an accurate finish time. Results are posted online at in real time. The race is USATF certified and sanctioned, featuring a flat course perfect for novice and experienced runners or walkers.

 Registration fee is $30 through noon on October 31 and $35 thereafter; $20 for the 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. Registration deadline is 7 a.m. on race day.

About Juli Aistars

Aistars is well-known at NCH for her passion for helping patients to quit smoking. She regularly participates in long-distance runs, including this year’s Chicago Marathon, and inspires patients to exercise to improve their recovery. Aistars is trained in tobacco treatment addiction and invites anyone who wants to quit smoking to participate in the Courage to Stay Tobacco-Free Support Group at NCH.

To register for the race or donate to the Lung Cancer Patient Assistance Fund, visit