FORT MILL, SC | April 14, 2022
Fort Mill resident and lung cancer survivor, Mike Smith, spoke last week with his members of Congress during the American Lung Association LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day. As a part of the nationwide event, Smith joins 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 (NIH), $11B in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to protect expanded access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Advocacy Day was conducted virtually to allow this important message to be heard while also protecting the health and safety of patients and caregivers. During Advocacy Day, Smith spoke virtually with Senators Tim Scott and Lyndsay Graham, a staff member from Representative Nancy Mace’s office and in person with Representative Ralph Norman to share his personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health, research funding, and quality and affordable healthcare are important to him.
In the summer of 2016, Smith was working in his backyard and experienced what he thought was an asthma event. He used his inhaler, but it failed to give him relief. He knew something was wrong but brushed it off as allergies. Since that time, Smith has undergone radiation, a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor, and has had three targeted therapies to treat his lung cancer.
“I am a five-year cancer fighter living with stage four lung cancer. I live a normal life, work 5 days a week, go to the gym (YMCA) regularly, and am engaged in my three kid’s activities. I have a horrific terminal disease, but I don’t look sick, and I enjoy an active everyday lifestyle,” Smith candidly shares. “I believe in patient advocacy, leading an active life, promoting physical exercise, and helping others learn through my journey and offer to help mentor other newly diagnosed cancer fighters. My most important message is that lung cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White, Asian, Caucasian, smoker, non-smoker, or whatever, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer,” remarks Smith, Senior Vice President, EAC Compliance and Operational Risk Manager - Electronic Communications Retention with Bank of America.
It is estimated that in 2022 alone, there will be more than 4,560 in South Carolina 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 Smith is sharing his 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 Carolina.
Mike Smith encourages others in South Carolina to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress, which they can do at Lungforce.org/AdvocacyDay. Learn more about Smith’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.
For media interested in learning more about LUNG FORCE or scheduling an interview with Mike Smith or a lung cancer expert, contact Jill Smith at [email protected] or call 704-818-4138.
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.
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