With the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are thinking about their health more than ever. For families facing lung cancer, they recognize the threat to their health from both conditions.   

More Americans than ever are surviving lung cancer, yet it remains the nation’s #1 cause of cancer deaths. Raising awareness about lung cancer is critical, as greater understanding can truly save lives.

For the last six years, the American Lung Association has been at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to defeat lung cancer as the trusted champion of lung health.

Through our LUNG FORCE initiative, the Lung Association has learned that the most impactful way to raise awareness and inspiring action about this disease is by sharing the stories of those affected by it, women and men we call LUNG FORCE Heroes.

Since 2016, hundreds of LUNG FORCE Heroes have come together from across the country to urge their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research. This year’s event will be a remote LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day due to the impact of COVID-19 outbreak, but the urgency and resolve of our Heroes will be greater than ever. 

Since LUNG FORCE’s inception in 2014, the tireless work of our LUNG FORCE Heroes has helped the American Lung Association increase lung cancer research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 94%. This research funding has been critical in helping develop novel therapies that benefit many impacted by this disease. Since 2016, 26 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer – giving life and hope to those with this deadly disease.

These therapies have given those like LUNG FORCE Hero Alexis D. an opportunity to treat her lung cancer with personalized therapy. “I have received the same targeted therapy for over five years. Life isn't the same, but I've been given an opportunity to change the way I live my life,” Alexis said. 

However, the progress we’ve made together will be lost and inaccessible for many Americans if the Affordable Care Act is struck down or if the Administration continues to weaken healthcare protections.

Protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensure that millions of Americans can access, afford and retain quality and affordable healthcare, which is essential for patients with or at risk for lung diseases, including lung cancer, those like LUNG FORCE Hero Ashley M

Ashley first attended LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2017. She was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 19, shocking her and her family. She has benefited from the healthcare protections provided by the ACA and deeply understands the need to continue our critical advocacy work. 

“I’m proud to be participating in LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day again this year because our work on Capitol Hill is vital,” said Ashley. “Lung cancer patients like me need both the hope provided by research funding at the NIH and the healthcare protections that ensure access to lifesaving treatments.”  

Healthcare protections under the Affordable Care Act also mean that millions have access to critical preventative services including lung cancer screening and quit smoking treatments, which save lives. The work of LUNG FORCE Heroes helped the Lung Association secure coverage of lung cancer screening for approximately 8 million Americans who are at high risk for the disease.

You can join our LUNG FORCE Heroes by visiting our website and contacting your members of Congress to ask them to support $44.7 billion in funding for NIH in Fiscal Year 2021 and to pledge that current healthcare protections continue, including those for patients with pre-existing conditions. With your help, we can make a real difference on behalf of all Americans facing this disease.

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