Today: South Dakota Lung Cancer Survivor Meets with Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to Ask Congress for Increased Research Funding

Melodee Melder joined volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action against lung cancer
South Dakota resident and lung cancer survivor, Melodee Melder, 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, Melder joined more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51 billion (about $160 per person in the US) in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $11.6 billion (about $36 per person in the US) in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to support and protect Medicaid.

Melder’s journey with lung cancer began on December 8, 2018. It started with a cough and a visit to urgent care, which quickly led to a hospital admission and a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer. She was given a prognosis of only six weeks to live. Melder beat those odds not once, but twice when her cancer returned in 2021.  Now she will take her fighting spirit to Capitol Hill next week where she’ll participate on a national stage to advocate for an end to lung disease.

During Advocacy Day, Melder spoke with Representative Dusty Johnson and Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health, research funding and quality 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.

Melder encourages others in South Dakota to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress, which they can do at Learn more about Melder’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at
For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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