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The American Lung Association LUNG FORCE Heroes are lung cancer survivors, caretakers and anyone who is impacted by the number one cancer killer in the U.S.

Our LUNG FORCE Heroes share their stories to inspire, but are also active in fundraising for lifesaving research, supporting those impacted by lung disease and even traveling to Washington D.C. to help advocate for clean air.

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Katherine Bensen

In November of 2014, Katherine Bensen, a 40-year-old nonsmoker, got on a treadmill and had trouble breathing. She tried lifting weights and couldn't. Although Katherine had been seen by various doctors for a few years because of swollen lymph nodes, the doctors told her nothing was wrong. Katherine felt tired but thought it was due to her busy lifestyle as a wife and working mother of four.

A few days before Christmas, Katherine's coworker encouraged her to visit the doctor for her persistent cough. Katherine's doctor ordered an x-ray, which came back abnormal, so he felt it best to follow up with a CT scan the next morning.

On New Year's Eve 2014, Katherine received a phone call from her pulmonologist saying she had Stage IV Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer. After meeting with her oncologist she was given the choice to start chemotherapy or wait to see if she was a match for targeted therapy. She decided to wait and it was later confirmed she was a match for targeted therapy.

Today, living with lung cancer has become Katherine's new normal. Along with a daily pill, she gets a CT scan every 10-12 weeks.


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