Ft. Lauderdale Woman Advocates for Lung Cancer Research After Losing Mother to the Disease

Local resident Dawn D’Onofrio lost her mother to lung cancer, so this Wednesday, March 17, she will meet with members of Congress to raise awareness about the disease and demand action. 

Through the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, D’Onofrio will join others personally affected by lung cancer to advocate for $46.1 billion in funding at the National Institutes of Health, $10 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, adequate and accessible healthcare. 

In December 2009, D’Onofrio’s mother began to complain of breathing problems and coughing. She visited her physician many times asking for help. They said she had chronic bronchitis, but the symptoms became worse and nothing seemed to help. After numerous ER visits, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Just over a month later on her 68th birthday, June 11, 2009, D’Onofrio’s mother passed way from the disease. 

“Our worst fear had come true. My father, by brother, and I were devastated. Our family was so very close. We watched in horror as her life and body diminished,” said D’Onofrio. “The worst was that there was nothing we could do. We were helpless. I would not wish it on anyone. My precious mom was gone, and her grandchildren would truly miss out on everything she was and everything that she had to give. We felt numb, crushed, and angry that she was stolen from us.”

Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Advocacy Day event will be conducted virtually to allow this important message to be heard while also protecting their health and safety of patients and caregivers. On March 17, during the virtual Advocacy Day, D’Onofrio will meet with members of the Florida Congressional delegation including Senator Marco Rubio to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health, research funding and quality and affordable healthcare are important to her.  

It is estimated that in 2021 alone, there will be over 18,470 people in Florida diagnosed with lung cancer and 10,940 will succumb to the disease. But more people than ever are living with lung cancer in part because survivors are sharing their stories and policymakers are taking action in response. That’s why D’Onofrio is sharing her story with lawmakers and others -- so that more can be done to help lung cancer patients and their caregivers throughout the United States and in Florida. 

D’Onofrio encourages others in Florida to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress. Learn more about her story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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