Alaska Lung Health Advocate Travels to Washington, D.C. to Ask Congress for Increased Research Funding

Jennifer will join volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action against lung cancer

Kenai, Alaska resident Jennifer Chikoyak, will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with her members of Congress during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 29. As a part of the nationwide event, Jennifer will join more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $11.6B in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to support and protect Medicaid.

Inspired by her grandmother, Shirley, who passed away from lung cancer at the age of 63, Jennifer has worked for nearly two decades to educate her fellow Alaskans about the health harms related to tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. 

“My Grandma Shirley would be proud of the woman I've become and my work educating others about the health harms of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure,” said Chikoyak. “We have learned so much about cancer over the last thirty years. Being diagnosed with lung cancer is no longer a death sentence. Instead, cancer survivors have hope thanks to a variety of new treatment options. That’s why I’m going to Washington DC - so that someday no one will have to lose their Grandma to lung cancer.” 

During Advocacy Day, Jennifer will speak with Alaska’s congressional delegation 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.

The American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016 to ask members of Congress to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention and quality and affordable healthcare. As a part of Advocacy Day, LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 115%. Since 2016, more than 50 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer—giving more hope to those impacted by this disease. In 2022, Heroes successfully urged Congress to extend funding for tax credits so more than three million Americans were able to keep affordable healthcare coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.

Jennifer encourages others in Alaska 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 Jennifer’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.

For more information, contact:

Gregg Tubbs
(202) 715-3469
[email protected]

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