Local Lung Cancer Advocate Travels to Washington, D.C. to Urge Lawmakers to Support Lifesaving Research and Public Health Funding

High Schooler Sydney Shaffer will join volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action to end lung cancer

Georgetown resident and lung cancer advocate, Sydney Shaffer, will travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with her members of Congress during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 20. As a part of the nationwide event, Shaffer will join more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51.3 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $11.6 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When she was just a 10-year-old, Shaffer lost her grandfather to lung cancer. Now, at 17, Shaffer is committed to honoring the memory of her grandfather by focusing on lung health policies and youth vaping prevention. Her grandfather started smoking young and she wants to prevent other young people from facing a future of lung disease.

“My grandfather began smoking at 12 years old, and continued until he was diagnosed with lung cancer at 62. After his passing, I wanted to channel my grief into helping others who are suffering from lung disease and to make a positive impact on my community,” said Shaffer.

“As a student, I provide a different perspective to both my peers and adults. I want to educate young people and lawmakers about the importance of policies supporting a future of clean air and healthy lungs,” added Shaffer.

In Kentucky, Shaffer has stood in support of the law against underage retail sales of nicotine products, testified before a legislative committee urging better enforcement of that law, and engaged in a local campaign urging the Campbellsville, Ky. city council to reject a proposal to create a loophole in the city’s comprehensive smokefree law.

Shaffer will receive the 2024 Smoke-free Youth Advocate of the Year from the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy next month.

During Advocacy Day, Shaffer will speak with U.S. Senators and Representatives to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health and research funding are important to her.

Thousands of LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country have raised their voices since 2014 to urge their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., to support robust, sustainable and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention, as well as quality and affordable healthcare. LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 130% since the inception of LUNG FORCE in 2014. NIH has also funded research that has led to new treatments that are saving lives today. Since 2016, over 50 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer – giving life and hope to those impacted by this disease.

Shaffer encourages others in Kentucky 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 Shaffer’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at LUNGFORCE.org.

For more information, contact:

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

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