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Young Lung Cancer Survivor Climbs Springfield Tower to Raise Awareness, Funds for Cancer Research

(January 21, 2020) - SPRINGFIELD

For more information please contact:

Jill Thompson
[email protected]

Springfield resident Nici Ropac is a young, healthy woman who was diagnosed with lung cancer at just 23 years old. This February, she will participate in the Fight For Air Climb at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre to raise awareness that anyone can get lung cancer.

When Ropac was a junior in high school, she became ill. She was diagnosed with bronchitis and sent home. For the next several years, she continued to get sick regularly. 

“Every spring I would get really sick and we just thought it was bad allergies,” she said. “When I went to college, it got really bad.”

At one appointment, she asked for a chest x-ray. Doctors found a fist-sized cyst on her lung. Over the next several months, she visited multiple specialists to try to determine the cause of the cyst.

“In December 2013, at 23 years old, I had a wedge resection where they removed a piece of the cyst. They sent it to the Mayo Clinic for testing,” she said.

The test revealed something Ropac never expected, lung cancer. In August 2014, Ropac had the top and middle lobe of her right lung removed. Since her surgery, Ropac feels great, hasn’t gotten sick and gets scans on a regular basis to check for lung cancer.

After her lung cancer surgery, she saw a billboard about the Fight For Air Climb and thought it was the perfect chance to get involved. On February 16, she will climb in her 5th event.

“I climb to bring awareness about lung issues. I never thought I would hear lung cancer in my life. I never smoked, and I still had that scare. It can happen to anybody,” she said.

The Fight For Air Climb, set for February 16, attracts hundreds of Illinois residents who climb the stairs of the Wyndham Springfield City Centre (32 floors, 532 steps) to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease and lung cancer. To learn more and register, visit the Fight For Air Climb at Wyndham Springfield City Centre website.


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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