Local Lung Cancer Survivor Travels to Washington, D.C. to Urge Lawmakers to Support Lifesaving Research and Public Health Funding

Virginia Beach’s Frank McKenna will join volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action to end lung cancer

Virginia Beach resident and lung cancer survivor, Frank McKenna, will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with his members of Congress during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 20. As a part of the nationwide event, Frank will join more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51.3 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $11.6 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Doctors initially attributed Frank’s persistent cough to allergies ad prescribed him with antibiotics and allergy medicine. The cough persisted and he had a chest X-ray that revealed his left lung was full of fluid. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July 2016 and found that the cancer had spread to his bones.

As the first line of treatment, took a daily chemotherapy pill and underwent two weeks of radiation for his left femur. A few months of treatment, he had no energy or appetite and was losing weight. His lung cancer was progressing and his family feared he wouldn’t make it to that Christmas. His oncologist ordered more in-depth testing that isolated a gene mutation and he was switched to a new daily chemo pill. Frank was feeling better in a few days.

Frank’s personal lung cancer journey includes a positive attitude, a desire to help others and to advocate for more research funding. “I continue my 2nd line of treatment and am thankful for the funding and research that led to the treatment’s discovery less than one year before I was diagnosed. I have since expanded my personal training efforts by certifying as a Cancer Exercise Specialist in 2019 - allowing me to run a wellness program for all cancer patients. My targeted therapy allows me to not only thrive but encourage other cancer survivors to “keep moving” through a cancer diagnosis. Giving back as a mentor, educator, advocate, and inspiration allows me to live my best life while taking others along on my journey.”

Frank’s license plate reads “Win Day.” He shares his mantra with his personal training clients and  regularly encourages them with the words:  “Win the day. Don’t give up. Make history. Some days you may not win, but you will wake up and win tomorrow.” As part of his commitment to helping others with cancer, Frank offers a free Zoom and in-person 6-week class for survivors. He combines fitness, yoga and a wellness component that he calls” the mental part of dealing with cancer.” Downloadable Image of Frank.

During Advocacy Day, Frank will speak with offices of Senator Tim Kaine, Mark Warner and Congresswoman Jen Kiggans to share his personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health and research funding are important to him.

Thousands of LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country have raised their voices since 2014 to urge their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention, as well as quality and affordable healthcare. LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 130% since the inception of LUNG FORCE in 2014. NIH has also funded research that has led to new treatments that are saving lives today. Since 2016, over 50 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer – giving life and hope to those impacted by this disease.

Frank encourages others in Virginia and across the nation to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress, which they can do at Lung.org/AdvocacyDay. Learn more about Frank McKenna’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.

For more information, contact:

Valerie Gleason
[email protected]

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