FPL ‘Light the Way’ Procession Honors 11 Distinguished South Floridians Impacted by Lung Cancer

On Saturday, June 3, the American Lung Association in South Florida will honor 11 residents who have been impacted by lung cancer with the “Light the Way” Luminary Procession Powered by FPL. This is part of the Memorial Cancer Institute LUNG FORCE Sunset Soiree presented by the Erwin and Barbara Mautner Charitable Foundation.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and anyone can get this disease. In Florida, it is estimated that over 19,340 people, more than any other state, will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2023 alone.

“The ‘Light the Way’ Luminary Procession powered by FPL is an integral part of the Sunset Soiree. It is an opportunity for us to recognize the true stars of the event – those who have been directly impacted by lung cancer, who we call LUNG FORCE Heroes,” said Tim Bryant, Director of Corporate External Affairs at Florida Power & Light Company. “Eleven LUNG FORCE Heroes will be honored during the program with a special video tribute to spotlight their personal story. All attendees of the event will be given a turquoise paddle to illuminate during the procession. We are honored to power the “Light the Way” Luminary Procession recognizing LUNG FORCE heroes and their stories of courage.”

For the 2023 Sunset Soiree, the following LUNG FORCE Heroes will be honored:

  • Lori Adelson: Six years ago, Adelson lost her mother to lung cancer. Her mother was a fighter, but lung cancer fought back, and when it returned for a second time, Adelson’s family was told she’d have 5-8 years to live, but unfortunately that timeline would never come to fruition. Adelson strives to make lung cancer a cause people care about, to help drive policy change and increase research funding.
  • Sharon Blumberg: Blumberg is the only member of her immediate family that has not been diagnosed with lung disease. Blumberg is honored to serve as a 2023 Lung Force Hero in honor of her sister, Debra Joy who passed away from metastatic lung cancer, the same disease that took her mother in 1989. Blumberg encourages everyone to work together towards a cure, help others to quit smoking, and love those suffering in silence with emotional distress. She motivates others to join her and support the American Lung Association’s efforts in research, early detection, and treatment in honor of someone they care about.
  • Riley Burke: June Ross Burke, wife to Kevin, mother to Courtney and Danny, and stepmother to Patrick and Riley, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October of 2018 after having a routine wellness check. She is a living example of the effectiveness of early screening that can save so many lives. For this reason, Riley supports the LUNG FORCE campaign and is committed to raising awareness and critical funds to amplify & advance lung cancer screening options.
  • Dawn D'Onofrio: On May 3, 2009, D’Onofrio’s mother, Kaffie Hervey, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Just over a month later on her 68th birthday, her mom lost her battle with this horrific disease. In 2018 D’Onofrio attended the Sunset Soiree and was inspired that she later joined the event committee and now serves as a Chair of the Silent Auction Committee.
  • Andrea Eastaugh: Eastaugh’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and just three months later she passed away. After losing her mother, Eastaugh knew she wanted to do more in the community to promote lung health and drive awareness to this important cause. Eastaugh continues to serve as a Sunset Soiree Committee member and works to generate awareness and raise funds for this devastating disease.
  • Stacey Eisdorfer: In October of 2019, Eisdorfer’s life was changed forever when she was diagnosed with lung cancer at just 60 years old. She had a lobectomy followed by four months of chemotherapy and is now in remission. She is passionate about raising awareness about lung cancer screening and is living proof of early detection.
  • Victor Falcon: Falcon is a three-time lung cancer survivor of non-small cell, stage 4 cancer. At the time, Falcon pondered many questions about his survival, paying medical bills, caring for his children. Over the years, Falcon looked to his family and beloved doctors Ana Botero, Luis Raez, nurses and staff at the Memorial Cancer Institute for continued support. Falcon is thankful for new medications, technology and treatments that have allowed him to continue living a full life. He is proud to be a LUNG FORCE Hero and support the Lung Association’s research efforts.  
  • Tara Kennedy: Kennedy, a non-smoker, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma lung cancer in June of 2021 after having an annual screen for a previously identified abdominal issue. Kennedy’s daughter Baylee, a nurse, refused to accept the “wait and see” option and referred her to Dr. Mark Block with Memorial Healthcare System who scheduled her for surgery immediately. Today, Kennedy is cancer free and encourages everyone to be proactive and get screened, and not to be afraid of the unknown as early detection saves lives.   
  • Sharon Klein: In 1974, Klein’s mother passed away from lung cancer after a valiant 18-month battle.  While hospitalized, Klein’s mother was an inspiration to so many as she would visit other patients encouraging them to keep fighting. Klein honors her mother as a LUNG FORCE hero and strives to motivate others to support the Lung Association to help fund advanced treatments, and medical research and promote screenings.
  • Katrena Rockeymore: Rockeymore is 48 years old and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2015 after being admitted to the ER thinking she was having a heart attack. Rockeymore is thankful for her wonderful team of doctors, cancer caseworker, Gilda’s Club and her husband. She hopes that by sharing her personal story she inspires others to get screened early as she believes it is the best way for early detection and saving lives. Rockeymore is living her lung cancer journey with help and encourages other to seek support from community resources like the Lung Association.  
  • Debra Thompson: In 2015 Thompson, was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis, a rare disease that causes small lumps of inflammatory cells in the lungs. Despite much hesitation, Thompson followed the treatment plan and is living a full life today. Thompson encourages those living with sarcoidosis or another lung condition to follow their treatment plan despite it not being easy, often emotionally and physically difficult. Thompson is thankful for the phenomenal doctors and resources that are available to support those living with lung disease in our community.

 

Read more about their stories and donate to lung cancer research in honor of a LUNG FORCE Hero here.

 

The Sunset Soiree is the premier luxury lifestyle event of the season designed to raise funds to defeat lung cancer, improve the air we breathe, reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families, and eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. The event will take place on June 3 at 6:00 p.m. This year’s event is sponsored by Memorial Cancer Institute and presented by the Erwin and Barbara Mautner Charitable Foundation.

For tickets or more information about the event, visit http://lungforcesunsetsoiree.org/.

Special thanks to additional partners including WE Florida Financial, Spot Barber Shop and Parent’s Choice Medical Daycare, Ocean Drive Magazine, Audacy Media including 102.7 the Beach, Kiss Country 99.9, 560 Joe Sports WQAM , 104.3 The Shark, 101.5 Lite FM and Power 96, Alhambra Orchestra, Florida Department of Health, and Global Child TV.

For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
704-818-4138
[email protected]

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