Washington Resident to Advocate to Defeat Lung Cancer on Capitol Hill
(April 4, 2019) - SEATTLE
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Washington resident Lorie Bickford is heading to Washington, D.C. to fight for the health of all Washingtonians against lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in the United States.
Bickford’s sister Carol had been suffering extreme pain without a known cause for some period of time. Fighting to get care was an uphill battle.
“She visited an emergency room twenty times in a year, begging for more than just a prescription for pain pills or to exercise more. She knew something was wrong with her,” Bickford said. “Finally, a doctor performed the MRI that she had been begging for. It revealed a medical horror show – tumors and fractures on her body. She had Stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized.”
Screening for the lung cancer can make all the difference, and if lung cancer is caught before it spreads to advanced stages, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves to 56 percent. Bickford and her sister faced an uphill battle of targeted chemotherapy treatments before Carol’s passing.
Spurred by her sister’s diagnosis, Bickford has been a staunch advocate for lung health, and this year, she’s going with the American Lung Association to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, April 10 to ask legislators to fund lung health research.
As an advocate, she’ll urge members of Congress to continue to invest in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health so there can be better early detection, treatments and cures for lung cancer. She’ll also ask Congress to act to protect affordable, adequate and accessible healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions like lung cancer.
Bickford hopes that advocacy around lung cancer can help erase its stigma, for smokers and non-smokers affected by it.
“The question ‘Was she a smoker?’ is inevitably the very first thing that falls from the lips of virtually every person to whom I tell her story. And it is a question that angers me,” said Bickford. “I no longer even answer it. Instead, I say her life, her story, was more important than what caused her cancer. She was an incredibly dynamic person, even when life was less than kind. Her life was cut short by a disease, which is still too little understood, too widely stigmatized, and to which too little research and prevention dollars are committed.”
To learn more about the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE and its work to defeat lung cancer, please visit LUNGFORCE.org.
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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