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Denny H.

On September 12, 2015, I lost my best friend, my soul mate and my husband, Jack. Jack was diagnosed with stage 4, small cell lung cancer in December of 2014 and nine months later he lost his fight. Although he quit smoking 24 years earlier, cancer won...

Often people would ask Jack when he started smoking. Always, his answer was, "Fourteen - I grew up in Kentucky." He joined the Navy at 18 where smoking was encouraged and cigarettes were often a reward. He would retire as a Master Chief 20 years later where he had developed a two to three pack a day habit.

The attitude then and continues today, according to my Marine grandson, is, "Smoke 'em if you got 'em." If the "Smoking Lamp" is on, troops can light up. During in the field training, Marines are told to take a knee and offered a cigarette as a reward.

Young men and women are putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom and we are rewarding their sacrifice by encouraging a habit that could kill them.

I only wish that Jack had not taken up such a nasty habit that eventually took his life. I also wish we had taken advantage of the no cost, low-dose CT scan for those who smoked 30 years or more. Perhaps, his cancer would have been detected much earlier and my family and I would not have lost a man who was bigger than life.

Jack has been gone for over three years now and I pray that my involvement with the Lung Association will help to raise awareness and funds to put an end to this devastating disease. I pray that others won't have to go through the loss of their loved ones due to lung cancer. With many people's efforts, perhaps smoking will be non existent for our young ones.

It is an honor to be a Lung Force Hero knowing that Jack is smiling down at me!

First published: November 14, 2018

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