Wisconsin resident and lung cancer survivor, Jennifer Kennedy, met with her members of Congress today during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. As a part of the nationwide event, Jennifer joined more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51 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 support and protect Medicaid.
Kennedy was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on April 13, 2018, after having never smoked a day in her life. Like many non-smokers who are diagnosed, the symptoms did not develop until she was already at stage IV.
“For years I had a chronic cough that we treated as Bronchitis or a respiratory infection, but because of my age, they did not feel like I needed to get a chest x-ray. I am a nurse and I look back and think how did I miss the signs and symptoms?” said Kennedy. “Again, I was 43 when I was diagnosed and being a non-smoker, I never thought this could or would happen to me.”
During Advocacy Day, Kennedy met with staff for U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, plus that of Congressman Gwen Moore to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health, research funding, and affordable healthcare are important to her.
The American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016 to ask members of Congress to support robust, sustainable, and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention and quality and affordable healthcare. As a part of Advocacy Day, LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 115%. Since 2016, more than 50new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer—giving more hope to those impacted by this disease. In 2022, Heroes successfully urged Congress to extend funding for tax credits so more than three million Americans were able to keep affordable healthcare coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.
Kennedy encourages others in Wisconsin 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 Kennedy’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.
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 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.