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Three Chicagoans Honored by Lung Association for Advancing Lung Cancer Prevention, Research

(August 20, 2019) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

On Thursday, August 22, the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago will honor one individual and two organizations at its annual Impact Awards for exceptional work to improve lung health and prevent lung disease in Chicago.

“We have thousands of incredible volunteers who make the work that we do at the Lung Association possible. Our Impact Awards highlight individuals and organizations who have truly gone above and beyond in advancing lung disease prevention,” said Kristen Young, executive director of the Lung Association. “Whether it’s volunteering, participating in a fundraising event, or providing health services to the community, these awardees help people in Chicago breathe easier every day.”

The three award recipients to be honored at Thursday’s event are:

LaKeesha James-Smith
LaKeesha James-Smith is the elderly services coordinator for the Bloomington Housing Authority in Bloomington, Ill. Through a program with the Lung Association, she was trained as a Cessation Navigator to help educate public housing residents on lung cancer screening and help them quit smoking. This was a part of the Smokefree Public Housing Initiative, a Lung Association program that aided in the transition following the National Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ruling on July 30, 2018 that required all public housing to go smokefree. Through this program, James-Smith reached more than 100 Bloomington Housing Authority residents with this vital information.

4 Our Candy Man Armand
In 2011, Armand Crema, an employee of Tootsie Roll Industries, passed away of lung disease. That year, employees of the organization formed the team “4 Our Candy Man Armand” for the For Air Climb at Presidential Towers.  In the past eight years, with the support of more than 100 climbers, the team has raised more than $20,000 to support the Lung Association.

RML Specialty Hospital
RML Specialty Hospital is a medical facility in Chicago that serves patients with catastrophic or acute illnesses that are complicated by multiple medical issues. The organization has partnered with the Lung Association for the past five years. Under the leadership of Tricia Vaisvila and Mauleen Maly, RML has contributed more than $45,000 through their partnership of the Fight For Air Climb at Oakbrook Terrace Tower and the LUNG FORCE Walk.

The Impact Awards will take place on Thursday, August 22 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Holland & Knight offices at 150 N Riverside, 27th floor in Chicago. Media is invited to attend the event, take photos and video and interview the Impact Award winners.


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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