TAMPA, FL | April 8, 2021
Today, the American Lung Association in Florida announced the first-ever Gail Porter Memorial Award presented by Moffitt Cancer Center. The award will be presented to the top fundraiser at the Fight For Air Climb on April 18 at Raymond James Stadium.
Porter, a retired special education teacher, was diagnosed with inoperable stage IV lung cancer in 2010, and began what would be almost a decade of treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center, treated by oncologist Dr. Eric Haura. For patients like Porter who have gone through several different treatments, the tumors often evolve to thwart the drugs. Because of this, it is important to study the tumors shortly after a patient passes away.
“At first Dr. Haura said, ‘Gail, I need your help,’” said Porter before she passed. “He told me, ‘We have this new program, and I don’t know how to present it to a patient because I don’t want to take away their hope.’”
Porter agreed to be part of this ground-breaking program and became patient number one. Read more about this incredible research that is saving lives here.
Dr. Theresa Boyle, Associate Member of Pathology, works closely with the program and is excited about the future of this program and the partnership with the American Lung Association. “The knowledge gained from Gail’s contribution to research is far from ending. Advancing in the fight against lung disease takes an entire team of dedicated individuals - from clinicians, advocates, to patients. We are honored to stand with American Lung Association and present the Gail Porter Memorial Award to someone who shares in our mission of funding life-saving research.”
After her mother’s diagnosis, Porter’s daughter, Celia Merritt, began climbing in the Tampa Fight For Air Climb to help fund lung cancer research. The 2019 Fight For Air Climb was the first time that Porter wasn’t waiting for her daughter at the finish line. She had passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on April 4, 2019.
“At the end of the day, she was so excited to be the first person to sign up for the rapid tissue donation program and she wanted others to not be scared of it,” said Merritt.
The first-ever Gail Porter Memorial Award presented by Moffitt Cancer Center will be presented to the top fundraiser at the Fight For Air Climb on April 18 at Raymond James Stadium. Registration for the Fight For Air Climb is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit FightForAirClimb.org/Tampa.
Your safety is always our number one priority. We are continually monitoring local conditions that might affect your Climb. Check your local Climb website for the most up-to-date information.
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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