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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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Ashley Kennedy

In August 2016, Ashley Kennedy's mother Wendy Leonard developed a cough that prompted a trip to the doctor. She was told that she had bronchitis, was given medication and sent home to rest. When her cough persisted she went back to her doctor and was then sent to the ER for a chest x-ray. This escalated to pneumonia in both lungs, the need to be placed on oxygen, and eventually she was told that she needed a lung transplant.

After several different tests, treatments and medications, Wendy passed away from lung disease on April 20 surrounded by her family.

"Wendy Leonard was the best woman that God could have chosen to be my mother," said Ashley. "She was a fun-loving person with a heart of gold, always willing to help others and everyone loved her. Our family thinks of her often and wishes with all of our hearts that she could still be here with us. She would have been 48 years old, much too young, so much life to live."

This year, Ashley formed a team for the annual LUNG FORCE Walk to honor her mother and to raise money in the fight against lung disease.

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