Charlotte Woman Advocates for Lung Cancer Research Funding After Losing Mother to the Disease

Charlotte resident Tonya Robinson lost her mother to lung cancer in 2017, so on 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, Robinson 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 2017, Robinson’s mother went to the doctor for a persistent cough. After several tests, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.  

“I was in total shock. It was not something I wanted to hear,” said Robinson. “I remember my mom being happy in telling me that her tumors were shrinking, and she was going to beat this cancer.”

Unfortunately, her mother passed away from lung cancer on October 25, 2017.

“I would recommend anyone who knows a former smother to talk to their doctor about getting a low-dose CT scan. It has been proven that early detection saves lives,” said Robinson. “Lung cancer does not discriminate. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.”

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, Robinson will speak with the offices of Senators Richard Burr and Tom Tillis, and Congresswoman Alma Adams 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 8,830 people in North Carolina diagnosed with lung cancer and 4,790 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 Robinson 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 North Carolina. 

Robinson encourages others in North Carolina 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

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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