CHICAGO, IL | November 10, 2021
Actress and American Lung Association Lung Health Champion Shantel VanSanten was awarded the Lung Association’s prestigious Chairs Award for her long-time volunteer leadership and advocacy for the organization. She was presented the award at the Lung Association’s October board meeting.
The Chairs Award is given by the Lung Association national board of directors to a volunteer to recognize truly extraordinary contributions. VanSanten has been a volunteer for the Lung Association for more than eight years. Her passion is rooted in her love and admiration of her grandmother, Doris Dooyema, who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2013 and passed away from the disease several months later. She first became involved with the Lung Association in Texas, then continued as her life and career took her to Los Angeles, where she has mobilized Team DD to advocate, educate and raise much needed funds for LUNG FORCE Walk and the Southern California Fight For Air Climb.
“The work I do for the American Lung Association to defeat lung cancer is a cause dear to my heart. It allows me to carry on the legacy of an important woman I lost to lung cancer, my grandmother, Doris Dooyema,” said VanSanten. “In her absence I have been given an opportunity. The opportunity to share her story to help others. The opportunity to use my voice and outreach. The opportunity to stand alongside those who are fighting and let them know they aren't alone. But more than that, together we have an opportunity to evoke change through LUNG FORCE.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic expanded in 2020, Shantel launched the social media movement “#ClimbAgainstCovid,” which earned millions of views and helped raise money for the Lung Association. Earlier this year, VanSanten helped pioneer a new virtual event, Champions Unite. She also participated in the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, the organization’s national Turquoise Takeover, and represented the Lung Association in front of millions of viewers nationwide to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ to celebrate National Women’s Lung Health Week in May 2018.
“Shantel is an informed, powerful, authentic, and selfless person who uses her creativity, her voice and her reach as a force for good. She transformed her love for, and loss of her grandmother into a relentless effort to help others,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO for the American Lung Association. “She has a brilliant ability to spread the American Lung Association’s message while motivating others to make a difference.”
Through her fundraising efforts to date, VanSanten and her supporters have secured more than $123,000 for the Lung Association’s mission to end lung disease and lung cancer. She has kicked off her 2022 Campaign in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. People can donate to VanSanten and Team DD’s efforts here. She also posts regularly to her Instagram account, with over 1 million followers, about her support of the Lung Association’s mission.
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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