Lung Cancer Devastates Local Family; Local Survivor Climbs to Fund Research
(January 15, 2019) -
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After losing her father to lung cancer, and watching her sister battle the same disease, local resident and lung cancer survivor Renee Marrero is climbing in the Fight For Air Climb at U.S. Bank Plaza on February 23 to raise money for lung cancer research.
Marrero’s family has experienced first-hand the devastation of lung disease and lung cancer. Her son has asthma, her father suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, her sister has stage IV lung cancer, and Marrero herself is a lung cancer survivor.
In 2016, Marrero’s sister went to the doctor for a pain in her shoulder. She had an x-ray that revealed a spot on her lung. A CT scan found more spots, and the healthy woman who had never smoked or had any symptoms of lung cancer was diagnosed with stage IV adenocarcinoma lung cancer.
“It was a big shock to our family. We were devastated,” said Marrero.
Then in 2017, Marrero’s father, who had been suffering from COPD, was diagnosed with lung cancer and lost his battle with the disease in just six weeks.
“He had other health issues that made it difficult for him to fight. It was difficult to lose him, but we knew it was what he wanted and that he is in a better place,” said Marrero. “[In those six weeks], we had amazing experiences with him. He got to talk with us and we were all there when we passed away.”
After her sister’s surprise diagnosis and her father’s death, Marrero decided to get a CT scan to check for lung cancer. Although this is not common practice for people who are not at high risk for lung cancer, doctors performed the test because of her family history with the disease. The scan revealed spots on her lungs. A few months later, Marrero had the spots removed and a biopsy revealed that she had stage I lung cancer, even though she had no symptoms of the disease.
“I feel so blessed I found it so early, because I know just how devastating lung cancer is,” she said. “You don’t hear that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer. We need more funding for more treatments.”
Today, Marrero’s sister is still fighting stage IV lung cancer, but her disease is stable and she is doing well. Marrero is joining the fight against lung cancer by participating in the Fight For Air Climb at U.S. Bank Plaza in Minneapolis on February 23.
“I need to be part of things like the Fight For Air Climb,” she said. “The Fight For Air Climb is a very inspiring event. I feel like this lung cancer happened for a reason. It is a national epidemic and it isn’t getting the attention it needs.”
The Fight For Air Climb invites individuals, friends and family teams, corporate teams and first responders who race up the stairs of U.S. Bank Plaza (31 floors, 680 steps) to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease. Registration for the 2019 Fight For Air Climb is currently open online or by calling 651-337-5099.
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: Lung.org.
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