Cathy Z

Cathy Z.

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 despite my internist insisting I was healthy and did not need the recently-introduced low-dose CT scan that I requested. I persevered, paying for the $185 test out of pocket as they were not covered by any type of insurance at that time. In July 2014, I had the top lobe of my left lung removed and three weeks later I was back to my office, assuming my active schedule. After my diagnosis, I insisted my brother get the same test, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer two weeks after my surgery, having the top lobe of his right lung removed shortly thereafter. Our mother died from lung cancer, so it quickly became a passion of mine to join the American Lung Association to fight for better diagnosis and treatment. 

Over the past few years, I’ve lost dear friends to lung cancer….

  • Marisa Wittebort  (left) was only 30 years old when she was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma. She had just resigned her position as an aide to Congressman John Yarmuth to pursue her master’s degree in Political Theory at University College London. She fought hard but lost her battle with lung cancer four years later in November 2019.
  • Sally Gettelfinger (center) fought her lung cancer diagnosis many years, always hopeful, cheerful, and prayerful. She loved traveling and was a huge supporter of the American Lung Association.  Sally passed away in February 2018.
  • Elizabeth Campbell Moir (right) was pregnant with her second daughter when she felt run down and tired.  It was attributed to her pregnancy. However, after giving birth, she eventually learned that she had stage IV lung cancer in 2019. She fought it with all her heart for her husband and two young daughters. However, on August 27, 2021, she lost her fight at only 32 years of age. 

This is why I fight for more funding for lung cancer research and to ensure Medicaid is preserved so that regardless of an individual’s walk in life, they have access to all screenings and treatments available. Because regardless of your age, ethnicity, or smoking status, you only need lungs to get lung cancer.

First Published: October 26, 2016

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