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Every 5 Minutes a Chicago Woman is Diagnosed with Lung Cancer

(May 8, 2018) -

For more information please contact:

James Martinez
[email protected]
(312) 445-2501

In the last 40 years, lung cancer in women has increased 94 percent, and now impacts an estimated 8,500 people in Illinois. To raise awareness of the number one cancer killer, the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago is celebrating lung cancer survivors and also turning Chicago turquoise during National Women’s Lung Health Week (May 6-12).

During the week, the Lung Association is celebrating local lung cancer survivors, including Maureen Welborn, Susan Warmerdam and Martha Swiercewski.

  • Maureen Welborn was diagnosed with lung cancer at an early stage thanks to her doctor who recommended a chest X-ray while she was at a visit to treat a persistent cough. Because it was detected early, she is now cancer free and an advocate for raising awareness about lung cancer and educating people about early detection.
  • Susan Warmerdam: Six years ago, Warmerdam was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and adrenal gland, and had gone undetected for several years. This diagnosis was a shock, as she had never smoked, and felt fine (except for an allergy-like cough). After many treatments, including a clinical trial, Susan is off all cancer treatments and committed to raising money to fund lung cancer research.
  • Martha Swierczewski heard about lung cancer screening because she saw a flyer about it at her doctor’s office when she was receiving treatment for a knee injury. The screening saved her life, because it caught her lung cancer at a very early stage. Now she is cancer-free and shares her story to educate others about early detection.

In addition, the John Hancock building, Wrigley Building, Chase Tower, Crown Building will be illuminated in turquoise, the signature color of LUNG FORCE. During the week, there also will be several events and fundraising campaigns, including:

  • LUNG FORCE Kickoff Reception: The Lung Association is hosting a LUNG FORCE Kickoff on Wednesday, May 9 at Tesla Chicago-Gold Coast. Lung cancer survivors, volunteers and corporate partners will come together to hear stories of hope, strength and determination to fight lung disease.
  • Kendra Gives Back Event: On Saturday, May 12, the Lung Association is partnering with Kendra Scott to host a “Kendra Gives Back Party.” From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., 20 percent from all proceeds will be donated to the Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative.
  • CVS In-Store Campaign: From May 6 - 26, CVS Pharmacy customers can make a donation of $1, $3 or more at the register to raise funds for lung cancer awareness, research and education. In addition, CVS Pharmacy will donate $1 for every pack of Extra Gum that is purchased, up to $100,000 to the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE.

During National Women’s Lung Health Week, the American Lung Association encourages everyone to get involved by wearing turquoise, turning their social media profiles turquoise, and donating at


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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