My interest in the LUNG FORCE and lung health found me when my grandfather died from lung cancer when I was 10. I was his sidekick and two things were always true any of the times we were together: We laughed and had fun and he always had a cigarette in his hand.
He smoked from age 12 until, at age 62, he was diagnosed with lung cancer; five months later my best friend passed away. I soon began suffering from depression and anxiety. At a low point, I had a lightbulb moment: I could continue being sad and do nothing, or I could use my experiences to help others and thus myself. While preparing to participate in a scholarship pageant, I was asked to work for a cause that mattered to me. I thought immediately of Papaw Frog, as I called him, who began smoking as a child. I decided I wanted to educate young people, from elementary school on, about the importance of not smoking so that they will not face the same fate my grandpa did.
The Lung Association and LUNG FORCE help so many people in so many ways, including me. the opportunity to work with them taught me that I can make a positive difference in people’s lives. I have supported legislation at our Capitol, spoken at Lung Force events, appeared on television to support lung health (#NoSafeSmoking), and organized a Frogs Don't Smoke #BeLikeFrogs drawing challenge for kids. I will continue my work with Kentucky youth to hopefully keep more kids from smoking while also creating lung health ambassadors who will continue the cycle of education and improved health for future Kentuckians!