Lung Cancer Survivor Joins LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City to | American Lung Association

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Lung Cancer Survivor Joins LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City to

Bronx Resident Colette Smith to help the American Lung Association educate women by sharing her experience with lung cancer at annual LUNG FORCE Walk

(May 20, 2016) -

When Colette Smith’s husband was given a clean bill of health after overcoming prostate cancer, she thought the worst was over; however, shortly after, Collette Smith was diagnosed with Stage 1A lung cancer. Now, she is working to raise awareness about lung cancer by participating in the second annual LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City on Saturday, May 14 at South Street Seaport, Pier 16.

The LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City is a unique, festive event that will make a difference for lung cancer detection, research and cures. With an inspiring signature song and music, participants will celebrate the collective power of their breath while walking for the thousands of women and men in New York City that are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.

Smith first sought medical assistance when she began having palpitations. As several doctors began consulting on her health, Smith was surprised to learn that lung cancer was even a consideration, having never been a smoker. After multiple tests, and still without an official diagnosis, Smith’s medical team determined that surgery was necessary. “Ultimately, a surgeon told me I just had to bite the bullet and be prepared that they might find lung cancer. I had no idea that my symptoms were signs of lung cancer, but that operation probably saved my life.” Smith said. When she woke up from surgery, Smith was told that her doctors had found a tumor and were forced to remove the upper-left lobe of her lung.

Never a smoker and just living through her husband’s cancer, Smith left the hospital feeling angry and sorry for herself. “Before this, lung cancer wasn’t even on my radar.  I was still wrapping my head around my husband’s battle with cancer, and suddenly I was facing my own health challenges, and it was something I never saw coming..,” Smith said. Lung cancer diagnoses have more than doubled in women in the last 35 years..  After some time and with the help of a therapist, Smith decided to educate herself and get involved with LUNG FORCE. “I want people to know that you don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. I want people to know that a diagnosis of lung cancer is not the end of your life,” Smith said.

“Our LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City is a great event that works to raise awareness about lung cancer in women,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Colette’s story not only illustrates some of the hidden facts about lung cancer, but she gives  a face to the startling statistics behind this disease; lung cancer is the number one cancer in women, yet only one percent of women know this. If we continue to educate others and help people like Colette  share their stories, we can begin knocking these statistics down.”

Participation for the LUNG FORCE Walk in New York City is free. However, LUNG FORCE Walk is a fundraising event and all participants are encouraged to raise donations to support research, early detection, advocacy, education and awareness for lung cancer. The LUNG FORCE Walk is sponsored by Maimonides Medical Center, Kindred Hospitals of New Jersey, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, LEVEL SOLAR, Diageo, Myriad Genetics Laboratories, Inc., Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Astellas Pharma US, Inc. To find out more about the walk go to action.lung.org/nyc or contact Development Manager, Sarah Lutz at 917.210.5644 or NYCLUNGFORCE@LungNE.org

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