Since 1915, the American Lung Association has recognized the vital importance of research. We have funded breakthroughs in the fight against tuberculosis, identified genes that cause the development of lung cancer and cystic fibrosis, and developed new ways to treat respiratory distress syndrome. But there is still so much work to be done! This is why our top-notch researchers work tirelessly to find the next breakthrough in lung health.
Researchers often work behind the scenes, and don't always get the recognition they truly deserve. That's why we wanted to give everyone a chance to voice their gratitude to the researchers helping move us toward a world free of lung disease. Though we received hundreds of responses, here are some of the most moving stories of appreciation.
"I became a respiratory therapist 34 years ago because I saw the devastating effects of smoking in my family members. My grandmother, father and many other family members have succumbed to lung disease, cancer and the other complications often seen with smoking. It is because of your dedication and research that I am able to care for all patients with lung disease and have seen many successful patient stories. I am still passionate about what we do and am now director over Cardiopulmonary Services and am responsible for putting into practice the protocols that have been developed based on your work. I am encouraged by the medical advances, new treatments and technology that is a result of your tireless work. Thank you for helping me help others!" —Patricia B.
"I would like to thank you so very much for all that you do to help those with lung cancer. This terrible disease has affected my family in the most unexpected way and some of the treatments now available have taken my dear sister from being within two days of death to having a new lease on life, where she can be with us all for some time more. In addition, she lives well. She plants flowers, loves us all and has climbed (quite literally) three mountains since being discharged from hospice. The work that you do is so precious and so valuable. Thank you." —Anita L.
"I am a long-time supporter of the fine work done by the staff and volunteers of the American Lung Association. A frequently little-recognized but vitally important part of its mission is to promote and support research of all kinds. You and the numerous past researchers have made such a great difference in my life and to all the people who had or may have lung disease in the future. I am very proud and thankful for your work and those of your many colleagues. Thank you for your continuing efforts." —Jim H.
"My mother passed away several years ago from chronic respiratory illnesses, that stemmed from the tuberculosis she had as a young woman. On my father's side of the family, all of the men died from lung cancer, including several cousins. All were smokers from an early age, at a time when there was no scientific knowledge available to the public. It's a terrible thing to see someone struggling to breathe. I have been a supporter of the American Lung Association for many years. I applaud all of the hard-working scientists in their fight against lung disease and I will continue to support their efforts. Thanks for all you do." —Martha P.
"My family has lost five people to pulmonary fibrosis. My brother helped collect questionnaires from families with two or more members with the disease, for researchers at a time that all pulmonary fibrosis was thought to be idiopathic, leading to early research on familial PF. Both he and my father also developed lung cancer (bronchoalveolar carcinoma) late in their PF, as did a third cousin in England. We need more research on familial PF, since biomarkers have led the way to many IPF developments, as well as more on the relationship between pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer, so that we can save more lives. And global access to registries can mean that cases can properly be identified as familial, not sporadic. Thank you for your continuing work in this area." —Linda S.
"Last week was my sixth cancerversary of my diagnosis of Stage IV adenocarcinoma of the lung. At that time, my oncologist told me that average life expectancy was 9-12 months. After 16 months of chemotherapy, a new tumor was spotted. After a short delay, I was accepted into an immunotherapy trial. The trial drugs were fantastic, resulting in a 70% reduction in tumor size; but side effects knocked me out of the trial. I've been in a second trial for three and a half years, with initial reduction and two and a half years of stability an no significant side effects. Thanks to all the researchers who made this possible." —Edward C.
"Thank you for doing the difficult and challenging research projects that moves our understanding of how important air quality is. I've had several difficult periods in my life when my workplace air quality was severely impacting my breathing. The research you are doing has been key to developing better tools, techniques and drugs to improve my life. The next time you take a passenger rail/commuter rail/light rail train, be proud that your work allowed me to continue to design passenger rail projects even with a severe asthma condition." —Jennifer R.
"Last February, my wife was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Today, thanks to research which resulted in new medication, she is doing wonderfully and continues to teach first grade at a local elementary school. We know that cancer is one 'smart bugger' and that, perhaps, there will come a day where the medication won't work anymore. We would ask that you continue to research this horrendous disease to make sure she can continue teaching these young minds for the next 30 years!" —Kent S.
"Thank you so much for dedicating your lives to helping people breathe better! From the bottom of my ... lungs. I greatly appreciate you! When we suffer with a lung disease, we recognize that research for ALL lung disease is important. Nothing else matters when you can't breathe. I was diagnosed with asthma and had undiagnosed asthma as a child. I work in the area of tobacco-free initiatives and that means healthy air for all." —Sara B.