SIOUX FALLS, SD | March 30, 2022
Sioux Falls respiratory therapist Darcy Ellefson has many professional and personal ties to those who have suffered from lung cancer. Now, she will meet with her members of Congress and explain why investments in public health, research funding and quality, affordable healthcare are important to her during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on April 6, 2022.
“This fight is personal to me,” said Ellefson. “A united effort, a greater force, must rise to the challenges of lung cancer. I refuse to sit idle while more people die, while more grandchildren lose grandparents, while those I love succumb to this terrible disease. I joined the LUNG FORCE movement in hopes of more effective treatments, advances in earlier detection, and ultimately prevention of the disease for future generations.”
As a respiratory therapist, Ellefson works everyday with lung cancer patients and unfortunately some of them pass away from the disease. In addition to the daily reminder of this horrible disease at work, it also touches her life at home. Ellefson lost both her mother-in-law and sister-in-law to lung cancer.
As a part of the nationwide event, Ellefson will join more than 50 people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to advocate for $49 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health, $11 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to protect expanded access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Advocacy Day will be conducted virtually to allow this important message to be heard while also protecting the health and safety of patients and caregivers. During the virtual Advocacy Day, Ellefson will speak with Senator Mike Rounds’ office, Senator John Thune’s office and Representative Dusty Johnson’s office and share her personal experiences with lung cancer.
It is estimated that in 2022 alone, there will be 660 people in South Dakota diagnosed with lung cancer, but there is hope. More people than ever are surviving lung cancer, in part because patients and caregivers are urging their policymakers to take action. That’s why Ellefson 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 South Dakota.
Ellefson encourages others in South Dakota to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress at Lungforce.org/AdvocacyDay. Learn more about Ellefson’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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