Elaine L

Elaine L., MN

When something bad happens to someone you love very much, it becomes personal. When my 77-year-old mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, lung cancer became personal for me. I know how important the research and funding for health care since that time has impacted outcomes for lung cancer patients and am here today to advocate for continued growth in funding.

After making sure she was in good medical hands, I found that I was in good hands, too, with the American Lung Association and the Fight for Air Climb. The American Lung Association is relentless in finding treatments, cures and educating us all on how to keep our lungs healthy. COVID presented another good reason to support the ALA as long-term lung illness is the newest front of the fight.  And any good efforts require advocacy: telling the story, the mission and asking all to join in to make it happen. And that is why I am here today.

Every year I find more reasons to climb. Long-term COVID 19 has impacted friends who now have lung disease. This chronic illness raised my awareness of the importance of the CDC in protecting public health. Environmental issues, including radon, cause lung cancer. I have several friends in treatment for lung cancer and so it is still personal for me.

Last year I formed a team with two dear friends.  While we were acquainted before, the pandemic years brought us closer together and we do, indeed, feel like sisters. There were ups, and downs (just like the Fight for Air Climb), and each of us climbs for loved ones who lived with or died of lung disease. And so, the team of “The Step Sisters” was born! Together, we will again navigate the course, step by step, together with a common goal!

Fundraising has been so humbling for me. Each year I see the same family and friends return on the first day of my Facebook post to contribute, with many new supporters added. Each year it becomes easier to raise even more money as my network sees me as their Climber…climbing for their loved ones and contributing to the American Lung Association’s mission. So, my team is more than just the Step Sisters!  I would guess that together we will have raised over $15,000 in the past 10 years.

Climb day fills me with absolute joy! The vibe is so positive and encouraging. All the climbers: young, old, competitive, turtles like me, every demographic you can imagine, coming together as one to Climb to do our part to conquer lung cancer! I am here with you today to ask you to do your part.

This is personal for me; and I am here to ask you to join me. When I see my mom’s name on the big screen on May 6, it will bring both a tear to my eye and a smile in my heart. I climb for my mom; I’m here for my mom, with love and hope.

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