Our LUNG FORCE initiative to unite women against lung cancer built on the momentum of its debut year and grew into an ever-strengthening movement.
- Nearly 46,000 new Team Turquoise members joined LUNG FORCE—82 percent are new to the Lung Association!
- During our second May Turquoise Takeover we had 202 illuminations, 28 LUNG FORCE Receptions, 28 Hero and Leader awards given out and more than a million views of our new #SHAREYOURVOICE video.
- A CVS/pharmacy in-store fundraising campaign by our presenting sponsor CVS Health raised more than $3.3 million to support LUNG FORCE.
- With our LUNG FORCE Lung Cancer Call-in Day, we successfully advocated for an increase in federal lung cancer research funding.
- The Lung Association increased our investment to $1.6 million in lung cancer research—with another $9 million committed in the next few years.
In November 2014, we kicked off our LUNG FORCE education partnership with Medtronic (previously Covidien) by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange which also marked the beginning of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
This past February, the Academy Award nominated film "Wild," about a woman's journey of self-discovery after her mother's sudden death from lung cancer, allowed us the turn the Oscar Red Carpet turquoise. The author of the book the film was based on—Cheryl Strayed, among others—graced the runway with LUNG FORCE signature turquoise and helped spread the word about lung cancer.
Along with our presenting sponsor, CVS Health, we also gained additional support from more than 100 sponsors nationwide, including Lilly Oncology, Medtronic and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. With support from Merck, we created a Lung Cancer Action Guide, and updated our lung cancer screening resources with support from Novartis. And we advocated for and achieved our objective of Medicare coverage of low-dose CT lung cancer screening for those at high risk.
Our LUNG FORCE events grew in number and participants in our second year.
- This was the inaugural year for LUNG FORCE Expos, events that allow patients, caregivers and healthcare providers connect and learn the latest trends, resources and research around lung cancer, COPD, asthma and tuberculosis. In our first year, 14 Expos reached over 2,000 participants across the country.
- LUNG FORCE was active in communities across the country through 50 LUNG FORCE Walks, bringing together thousands from Team Turquoise to show their support and raise funds for lung cancer research and awareness.
- We also held eight LUNG FORCE patient panels in Boston and Ft. Lauderdale, spending more than 130 hours talking with patients and caregivers about their experiences with lung cancer. We are using what we learned to drive positive change in the conversation with the public and clinicians about women and lung cancer.
LUNG FORCE Heroes share their voices in the fight against lung cancer.
Nancy shares a powerful story of her personal journey through lung cancer and the gifts of friends and family.
Mother and daughter talk about the stigma of lung cancer and share a story of hope and strength.
Increasing awareness about lung cancer is an essential goal of LUNG FORCE, and from our first full-year efforts we have garnered more than 3.5 billion media impressions, and have seen a 240 percent increase in news stories about lung cancer in women. Through increased awareness, we will drive research funding and save lives.
If you would like to support the work of the American Lung Association, please donate today.
Inspirational stories from friends and supporters of the American Lung Association
LUNG FORCE Hero Wendy Sparks
Everyone loved Nikki. As the Director of Behavioral Health at the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and a licensed professional counselor, Nikki reached many people, from foster children and those suffering from mental illness to those in the prison population. She always succeeded in what she did—quick to excel and swift to offer a helping hand. She cared about people, and people cared about her.
At the age of 37, she never expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer. After consultations, chemotherapy, a bout with sepsis, surgeries, indescribable pain and radiation, Nikki passed away just a short 7 months after her diagnosis. Nikki never had symptoms of lung cancer, even in her final days.
"I tell her story a lot," said Wendy Sparks, Nikki's sister. "You think about losing your parents, but I never thought about losing her, she was my younger sister. So I never even fathomed that I'd lose her, especially this way and especially so fast."
While Nikki is gone, those that care about her and love her are not. Nikki's passion for helping people lives on through Team Nikki, a group of dedicated LUNG FORCE Heroes, championed by Wendy, set on raising awareness about lung cancer. And they've done just that.
Through LUNG FORCE, the group has reached thousands of people to share information about lung cancer and the importance of screening for high-risk populations, and they have also raised funds to benefit lung cancer research.
Wendy first got involved in a Fight For Air Climb, and before she knew it was sharing Nikki's story on the local news, organizing LUNG FORCE Walk and Fight For Air Climb teams, raising tens of thousands of dollars and engaging on the leadership board of the American Lung Association in Oklahoma.
Wendy is what LUNG FORCE is all about—empowering women to raise their voices against lung cancer and for lung health, because we can no longer be silent. "I tell Nikki's story because I don't want people to forget her. And I want people to know that anyone can get lung cancer at any age—you don't necessarily have to have symptoms," Wendy said. "I hope that in my life time we will see a cure for this dreadful disease."