Atlanta Resident Visits Capitol Hill to Advocate for Robust Lung Cancer Research Funding, Quality and Affordable Health Care for Lung Cancer Patients
La'Kesha Johnson Joins Force of Volunteers from Across the Country in D.C. to Advocate for Lung Cancer Patients
(March 23, 2018) - ATLANTA
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Atlanta resident and lung cancer survivor La'Kesha Johnson traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to meet with members of the U.S. Congress to demand action. Through the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative, Johnson stood alongside others personally affected by lung cancer to advocate for $38.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 in funding for the National Institutes of Health for better treatments and early detection for lung cancer, and to ask Congress to act to protect quality and affordable healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions, including lung cancer.
During Advocacy Day, Johnson met with Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why Congress must act to pass bipartisan legislation to stabilize healthcare marketplaces and tell the Trump Administration to stop a proposed rule that will hurt people with pre-existing conditions.
"I never thought that I would be diagnosed with lung cancer," said Johnson. "After having surgery to remove a cancerous nodule and having a stroke in the hospital, I was devastated. However, because I had a six-year-old daughter, I knew that I had to be strong for her and me. I knew that I could not allow the stroke or the possibility of the return of cancer to define me. I made a promise to remain faithful, attend therapy and do what needed to be done for me to return to as close to the same person I was before the nodule was noticed on September 12, 2014. As the mother of a six-year-old, I knew that I had a lot more living to do to help mold her and raise her into a woman. Also, knowing the very active and outgoing little girl of mine, I knew that I couldn't let anything hold me back from living and deny me of this second chance."
There will be are over 7,160 people in Georgia diagnosed with lung cancer and 4,650 will succumb to the disease in 2018. The LUNG FORCE "State of Lung Cancer" shows how the toll of lung cancer varies state by state, and Georgia ranks 32 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia with a lung cancer incidence of 67.7 per 100,000. It's important for La'Kesha Johnson to share her story with lawmakers and others so that more can be done to help lung cancer patients and their caregivers throughout the United States and in Georgia.
"Participating in Lung Force Advocacy Day was powerful," said Johnson. "It was disappointing to see so many people diagnosed with this ugly disease. However, it was great to see people not letting this disease define them. It was great to see all of us come together to take a stand for affordable and accessible healthcare and for additional funds for continued research. I hope our Congressmen will remember our stories as they discuss the future of healthcare. It was also exhilarating to hear how far research has come and to know that within five years, the research that will be done will surpass what has been done the last three years. This gave me hope and gave me more fire to try to make a difference by sharing my story and helping the American Lung Association in any way that I can."
Johnson encourages others in metro Atlanta to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare coverage for people with lung cancer by contacting their members of Congress, and learning more about the state of lung cancer in Georgia at Lung.org/solc. To learn more about La'Kesha Johnson's story and the LUNG FORCE initiative, visit LUNGFORCE.org.
For media interested in learning more about LUNG FORCE or scheduling an interview with La'Kesha Johnson or a lung cancer expert, contact Britney Reddick, Britney.Reddick@Lung.org, 470-233-7030.
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.