Sharonne Lopez is a US Army veteran, former teacher and now she can add lung cancer survivor to her list in her proud life resume. Now she’s celebrating her journey by raising awareness about lung cancer and funding for life-saving research in the American Lung Association’s annual LUNG FORCE Walk, sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic.
Her nickname as a child was ‘Ms. Lungs’ because of the strength of her voice when singing. She credits her lung strength for getting her through basic training in the United States Army and keeping a well-behaved classroom as a teacher.
“As you can tell, I had lungs of steel. The day I heard the doctor mutter, ‘You have cancer’, was the first time I felt my lungs collapse. In 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 3A non-small cell lung cancer,” said Lopez.
She was reluctant to get treatment due to historical lung cancer mortality rates, but her family and friends convinced her to take it more seriously.
“I took their advice. Four chemotherapy treatments and 30 days of radiation, I can say that I am a cancer survivor. My support system, my daughter especially, cheered for me throughout every step,” she said.
Though she admits the process was not easy, she learned a lot and continues to be grateful for life.
“Despite being on oxygen full time, I am truly grateful and blessed to ‘breathe fresh air’ in the body of a survivor. The process was very tiresome and scary most days, but it taught me so much about perseverance and strength. As of today, I continue to live life to the fullest, through the pandemic and all,” she said.
She will walk with dozens of her friends and family at the LUNG FORCE Walk scheduled for Saturday, September 18 at Great Lakes Science Center.
Registration for the event is free but fundraising is encouraged. Those who raise a minimum of $100 will receive a commemorative t-shirt. More information is available at LUNGFORCE.org/Cleveland.
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, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.