Local Lung Cancer Advocate Travels to Washington, D.C. to Urge Lawmakers to Support Lifesaving Research and Public Health Funding

Jalonna Kearney-Rodgers will join volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action to end lung cancer

Loganville resident and lung cancer advocate, Jalonna Kearney-Rodgers, will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with her members of Congress during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 20. As a part of the nationwide event, Kearny-Rodgers will join more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51.3 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $11.6 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Kearney-Rodgers, a learning experience designer and former teacher, lost her mother, Vanessa, to lung cancer in October 2022—a mere three months after her initial Stage IV diagnosis. Vanessa, who was physically active and did not smoke, arrived to her annual physical generally healthy. She and her family were devastated when they received the news.

“Losing my mother to cancer is an indelible wound, one that will forever cut deep into the fabric of my being. The suddenness of it all, the whirlwind of emotions, the unspoken words left waiting to be said—these are the silent burdens I still feel,” recounted Kearney-Rodgers. “As I continue to grieve the absence of my mother, I hope my family’s experience underscores the critical importance of targeted early diagnosis and prevention. May her memory serve as a poignant reminder for everyone to prioritize their health, to undergo regular screenings and to adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

She added: “I am so excited to be a part of the Lung Force Advocacy Day and use my involvement to ignite a collective resolve to fight against cancer, to advocate for early detection and to cherish every moment with loved ones. Together, let us strive to turn pain into purpose, ensuring that we do all we can to spread lung cancer awareness and use our resources to elevate the conversation.”

During Advocacy Day, Kearney-Rodgers will speak with her U.S. senators and representative to share Vanessa’s story with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health and research funding are important to her.

Thousands of LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country have raised their voices since 2014 to urge their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention, as well as quality and affordable healthcare. LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 130% since the inception of LUNG FORCE in 2014. NIH has also funded research that has led to new treatments that are saving lives today. Since 2016, over 50 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer – giving life and hope to those impacted by this disease.

Kearney-Rodgers encourages others in Georgia to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress, which they can do at Lung.org/AdvocacyDay. Learn more about Jalonna Kearney-Rodgers and Vanessa’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb in Atlanta is coming up on Saturday, April 20 at Promenade Tower. Learn more at ClimbAtlanta.org.

For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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