Courtney Cole was an athlete, mother and a well-known business leader in Indianapolis. She also lived with lung cancer until her passing in 2019. To honor her memory and help find a cure for lung cancer, Cole’s family partnered with the American Lung Association to create the Courtney Cox Cole Endowed Lung Cancer Research Fund.
Cole earned several athletic accolades and reached national recognition in different sports at the college level. In adulthood she participated in dozens of triathlons and marathons. Professionally, Cole and her sister, Monica Peck, became the sixth-generation owners of Hare Chevrolet. Together, they grew the company into one of the most successful car dealerships in the country.
Then in 2014, Cole was diagnosed with lung cancer. After undergoing biomarker testing, her doctors determined that she had epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive lung cancer, which causes cancer cells to grow and divide.
After a lifetime of competition in athletics and business, Cole would say that her toughest rival was lung cancer. Still, through the most challenging years of her life, she kept a normal routine for her two children and the family business until she died in 2019 at age 48.
"My biggest lesson is that life is truly a gift," wrote Cole in a letter after she found out her cancer had returned. "I have quickly learned that every day is a gift, and it is up to us to make the absolute most of it."
“Courtney made it her mission to raise awareness for lung cancer and help raise money for increased lung cancer research funding so that no one else suffers from the disease,” said Peck.
Cole’s family hopes to raise $1 million for the Courtney Cox Cole Endowed Lung Cancer Research Fund to support research to prevent resistance to the treatment of EGFR and help save lives. To date, $753,000 has already been raised for this fund.
“Her strength, positivity and perseverance through her battle with lung cancer inspired so many people throughout Indianapolis and across the state,” said Cayla Cole, Cole’s daughter. “We hope my mom’s story will help us continue her efforts in making every day count and help us save lives through research. Through this fund, her great legacy will continue.”
For more information about the Courtney Cole Research Fund and to donate, click here.
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.