CHICAGO | April 26, 2023
“Our new Ambassador Council is an outstanding group of talented celebrities and professionals who will lend their voices to the mission of the American Lung Association to bring greater awareness to our work,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “We are honored that these individuals will be supporting our vision of a world free of lung disease.”
Ambassador Council members have a personal connection to lung disease and are passionate about raising awareness of Lung Association key issues, such as lung cancer, and the impacts of youth vaping and air quality on lung health. Current members of the Ambassador Council include:
- Savannah Cavanaugh, Miss Colorado, crowned in 2022, is not only an accomplished pageant winner but holds a BBA from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. She lost her grandfather to lung cancer and now works to address the youth vaping epidemic through the “Healthy Lungs, Healthy Life!” campaign.
- Jim Gooden, actor and voice talent, has been featured in numerous TV commercials, films, and corporate productions. He also had a recurring role on the Lifetime TV series “Army Wives.” Gooden is especially passionate about the Lung Association’s work in tobacco, having lost several family members, including his father, to tobacco-related lung disease. He previously served as the National Board Chair for the Lung Association.
- Tony Gwynn Jr., former Major League Baseball athlete, played at San Diego State University before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft. He went on to play for the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres before leaving his outfielding days behind to focus on his family and a career in broadcasting. Gwynn grew up with asthma and lost his father, MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, to cancer after many years of tobacco use. He is a member of the American Lung Association in California – San Diego Leadership Board and supports many Lung Association events and programs.
- Steve Kornacki, journalist, is an American writer and national political journalist for NBC and MSNBC. Since 2014, Kornacki has used MSNBC's signature touchscreen monitor to analyze and present election data. In addition to election results, Kornacki has gone on to analyze data and results for many other notable events and programs, including the National Football League, the Kentucky Derby and the Olympics. Supporting the Lung Association is a family affair for the Kornackis. His father participates in the organization’s Trek Across Maine to raise money for research and his mother is living with lung disease.
- Bob Levey, prize-winning journalist, has had an extensive career in both print and electronic media. For 23 years, he wrote a daily column, “Bob Levey’s Washington” for The Washington Post. Levey was named one of the most popular columnists in Washington seven times by Washingtonian magazine for his Post column. Over 20 years, he worked for nine radio stations, four TV stations and one popular internet site as a commentator and talk show host. He recently reprised his “Super Stoppers Club” with the Lung Association to celebrate people who have quit smoking for good and inspire those who are trying to quit.
- Shantel VanSanten, actress and philanthropist, starred in the Apple TV+ critically acclaimed drama series “For All Mankind,” and she can also be seen in the hit CBS series, "FBI.” VanSanten also had a pivotal role in the Emmy nominated series “The Boys,” where she played ‘Becca Butcher’ for two seasons and in “Shooter,” which she starred in for three seasons. Other series featuring her work include "One Tree Hill," “Gang Related,” “The Messengers,” and “The Flash.” VanSanten became involved with the organization after her grandmother, Doris Dooyema, died from lung cancer. She has been a Lung Association research advocate, speaker and is a top fundraiser for Champions Unite and the Southern California Fight for Air Climb.
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, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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