Since 2012, I have been passionately advocating for lung cancer awareness, participating in American Lung Association events and fundraising for lung cancer research—to find the causes, better treatments and early detection methods. I do this to support the many friends, family members and colleagues who have been impacted by lung cancer, including myself. To date, thanks to my caring and generous supporters, I have raised over $450,000 for the Lung Association and helped fund six lung cancer research studies, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Since 2016, there have been 30 new lung cancer treatment options approved by the FDA. And in the past decade, we’ve seen a 26% improvement in the five-year lung cancer survival rate. Research is clearly saving lives, and it is the only way we are going to beat this disease. But it’s going to take more people caring about and supporting innovative research. Remember, anyone can get lung cancer.

Susan Warmerdam, Stage IV Lung Cancer Survivor (8 Years!) and LUNG FORCE Hero

At a time when COVID-19 is altering our lives, and major fundraising events such as the Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb are being postponed or canceled, it is critical that we continue to show our support for the important mission work that the organization continues to make strides on. Even though my team and I couldn’t climb the Presidential Towers in Chicago this year, our (virtual) show of support was through fundraising and spreading awareness. In fact, we were still able to raise $65,000 for life-saving research. And trust me, it was just as empowering as actually climbing the stairs at the event!

I’ve made a lot of friends throughout my lung cancer journey—through the Lung Association and by sharing my story and connecting with others in similar situations—and many  have become my biggest supporters and the main reason I continue to fight so hard for this cause. They were there for me when I needed them, and they continue to rally around me at the Fight For Air Climbs by climbing and donating. I want to be sure that they and their loved ones never have to go through what I did.

It has been eight years since my stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis. It has been a tough road, but I never succumbed to the disease. So… why do I climb (virtually or otherwise)? I climb for my supporters and the hundreds of thousands of individuals currently living with lung cancer, so that my story of survival will become the norm and not the exception. I hope you will join me.  

As many fundraising events for the Lung Association move to a virtual experience, we encourage you to find ANY event—including our Trek Across Maine, a bike event which can be done anywhere throughout the United States or any of our Fight For Air Climbs throughout May and June. Your support is more important than ever!

As the American Lung Association’s FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner for Healthy Air, Aprilaire is proud to recognize Susan Warmerdam with the FY20 Outstanding Fight For Air Climb Fundraising Award.

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