Local resident Jenny White knows how fortunate her early diagnosis of stage 1 lung cancer was. Now the 59-year-old wants to help others still battling cancer by participating in the American Lung Association’s virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk in June, to raise funds for lung cancer research and the Lung Association’s COVID-19 Action Initiative; an effort to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics.
A chest x-ray in December 2009 revealed a small spot in the right lobe of her lung. Her third follow up scan showed a 30 percent growth in the nodule in her lung. Further testing revealing she was EGFR positive, a genetic mutation of the cells in the lungs.
“It was shocking news. I had no risk factors. I wasn’t a smoker and there was nothing to blame it on,” White said. “Ten days before my surgery I ran a half marathon. I was in good shape and focusing on being healthy.”
White quickly realized how frustrating the stigma is with lung cancer. The amount of people assuming she smoked was shocking to her.
“I want to bring life to the fact that lung cancer is not about smoking cigarettes. Lung cancer is lung cancer. Nobody blames someone if they get breast cancer or colon cancer,” White added.
Plenty of support came from family and friends, but White sought others who shared her experience. White gained an understanding of how important research is after joining a lung cancer survivor support group.
“Raising money for research is a big deal, many of my friends are living because of the research finding additional drugs and treatments,” White said. “It’s about patient support, there’s no cure but you can manage it. We need to support people who take a pill every day and manage their side effects. It’s not pretty, it’s hard.”
White plans on completing 100 miles in the LUNG FORCE virtual event and has a fundraising goal of $1,000.
The Lung Association’s virtual LUNG FORCE Run/Walk will be held throughout the month of June. Participants are encouraged to run or walk their targeted distance outside while respectfully distancing from others or inside their own homes. Registration is $25. More information can be found at Lung.org/Nashville.
About the American Lung Association
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, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.