Central Ohio Hero Visits Capitol Hill to Advocate for Robust Lung Cancer Research Funding, And Quality Health Care for Lung Cancer Patients
(April 6, 2017) - Columbus OH
Reynoldsburg resident Rian Valentine, who is also Mrs. Ohio International, traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with members of the U.S. Congress and advocate for continued investments in research at the National Institutes of Health and quality and affordable healthcare for those living with lung cancer.
Every year, 224,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer, and only 16 percent are diagnosed at an early stage when more treatment options are available. Lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women and men.
Through the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, Rian stood alongside other LUNG FORCE Heroes - those who have been personally affected by lung cancer - to make their voices heard so that more lives are saved.
During Advocacy Day, she shared her personal experience with lung cancer and explained why patients need quality, affordable healthcare and why now is the time to build on advances in cancer research if we want to defeat lung cancer.
She met with Senator Sherrod Brown and with the staff of Senator Rob Portman, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (11th District) and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (3rd District).
Lung disease is no stranger to Rian’s family. She herself was first diagnosed with asthma when 13 months old and her father suffered for years with COPD. He was ultimately diagnosed with lung cancer and died three weeks later. His death marked the third family member to die from lung cancer.
Given her personal and family history, Rian was eager to participate in the American Lung Association’s Advocacy Day.
“For me, advocacy day was a not only a day about finding my voice and having the opportunity to talk about the various issues revolving around healthcare, tobacco and Lung Cancer, but to also correlate a plan of action for the future of our home states,” she said. “It was incredibly important to be able to find out what we can do next to make a difference in the fight against tobacco, the fight to keep healthcare for those with pre existing conditions and finally what we can do to encourage Lawmakers to see how incredibly important NIH funding is for the future of America.”
“We as Lung Force Heroes had the opportunity to share our stories on the hill and in some cases remind lawmakers and their staff what their stories were and how Lung Cancer and Lung Disease truly affects us all,” she continued. “I felt blessed to have the opportunity to stand up for my family, especially my dad, and to stand with all of the brave women who were fighting their own fight with Lung Cancer”
“ We as people have to find our voice and show our Lung Force. As an asthmatic and from a family devastated by Lung Cancer, it is my duty to continue this fight at home and protect rights to healthcare, rights to a tobacco free world and making sure that science continues to be funded so the United States continues to be a leader in innovation and technology in healthcare.”
“This day was truly enlightening to the fact that keeping people healthy and eliminating healthcare is important to legislators and that they need us, as citizens to help make positive changes to help the fight against Lung Cancer and Lung Disease.
Rian encourages others in central Ohio to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare coverage for people with lung cancer by contacting their members of Congress. To learn more about Rian’s story HERE and the LUNG FORCE initiative, visit LUNGFORCE.org.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org