KENAI, AK | March 27, 2023
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.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org. To support the work of the American Lung Association, find a local event at Lung.org/events.
LUNG FORCE is a national movement led by the American Lung Association to unite our nation in our efforts to defeat lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women and men. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: 1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about – and act on; 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and 3) Raise critical funds for groundbreaking lung cancer research. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at LUNGFORCE.org.
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