Growing up in Ashland, Oregon, Caylei Vogelzang has always been focused on physical fitness, health and wellness. She ran cross country and track in middle school. In high school, she competed in volleyball, swimming and rowing and continued rowing at Columbia University in New York. Although rowing was her main sport, Vogelzang often used running and swimming as cross training.
Now living in Lincoln Park with husband, Nicholas, and son, Chase, Vogelzang has continued her running career. She has competed in four marathons and numerous triathlons all over the world. Her current focus is a local 5K, called the Mesothelioma Race For Justice on Saturday, Sept. 21 in the Lake County Forest Preserve.
Vogelzang and her husband own Vogelzang Law, a firm specialized in serving those affected by mesothelioma. Last year, the couple decided to host the event to benefit Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) funding for research and treatment support for mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma is a tumor of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs and is currently incurable.
“Mesothelioma is a disease that I come into contact with daily, on a multitude of fronts. I have both friends and family members affected by cancer. These days I find it very rare to meet individuals who have not been impacted by cancer in some way,” Vogelzang says.
In addition to raising funds and awareness for MARF, the 5k aims to bring friends and family members of those afflicted by the disease together.
“Mesothelioma is a disease that is absolutely devastating, so running alongside and connecting with so many friends and families that MARF have helped served is deeply gratifying,” she says. “The smell of the woods is enchanting; it is the kind of race that you are secretly sad to finish,” Vogelzang says, reflecting on the 2018 event.
For further information on Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and their upcoming 5K race please see: https://mesotheliomaraceforjustice.com/
“The money that is raised through participation certainly helps the overall cause, but more importantly, running both in the event and otherwise offers a good reminder to myself and anyone who happens to see me of the value of exercise and lung health in general,” Vogelzang adds.