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Michelle K., PA

Some memories stay with you in life. For me, I’ll always remember getting ready for my senior prom and having pictures taken with my dad. Unlike other senior prom pictures, my date and I weren’t posed awkwardly in a living room or standing alongside a limousine. My date and I – him in his tuxedo and me in my gown – went to visit my father in the hospital where he was being treated for lung cancer, and that’s where I posed for prom pictures with my dad.

A lifelong smoker, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in my teens. He beat it the first time, but his doctors had to remove about three-quarters of his left lung. He couldn't beat the nicotine habit though, and so it wasn't much longer until he was smoking again. The lung cancer returned and this time, it was inoperable. He underwent radiation treatment, but the cancer had spread and my dad died before I turned 24.

I'm 45 now and I still miss him. Since his death, I've been diagnosed with asthma, which my doctors believe could be somewhat due to the secondhand smoke I inhaled all those years. More recently, my father-in-law died of complications related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These are all reasons why I support the American Lung Association and its efforts to ensure healthy air for all Pennsylvanians.

I'm proud to contribute to the good work the ALA does such as supporting the EPA and its efforts to keep the nation's air clean and healthy. The support we give could result in cures for the lung diseases that have affected me and my family and thousands of other families across Pennsylvania.

First published: July 31, 2012

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