This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

  • Share this page:


Kristen C

At 38 years old, a routine CT scan for kidney stones revealed a tumor in my lung. Nine months later and after a second opinion, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. As an otherwise young, healthy, never-smoker, I was in complete shock. With a husband and two young children, I was fearful for what lay ahead for my family. Like so many other women, lung cancer was not on my radar.

Following a lobectomy in 2013, I became a survivor and lung cancer advocate. I now spend my days as a LUNG FORCE Hero, working to share my voice to bring awareness and change. Cancer has definitely changed me, but in many ways for the better. "Just Breathe" has become my motto. I am so thankful for every breath that I take. After my surgery, breathing was painful and difficult. I had never really thought about the act of breathing. I had to become mindful of my own breathing to get me through each day. I built up my strength and began running again, as I had enjoyed doing prior to my diagnosis. Thirteen weeks after surgery, I completed another half-marathon, but this time as a survivor. In January of 2016, I completed my first marathon. Through every step of the 26.2 miles, my breathing reminded me of my journey.

My faith and my family keep me strong. As a survivor, my goal is to show others, especially my children, that you cannot give up when faced with adversity. Each obstacle in life is an opportunity to grow, and every single day is a gift. Now when faced with any challenge, I simply remind myself to"just breathe."

First published: March 11, 2016

  Share this story:
Tell your story View all stories Donate

American Lung Association is solely responsible for content.

Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.


Donate to LUNG FORCE

Get Involved


Events Near Me

Lung Health Barometer


Sponsors & Supporters


Sign up for updates

Get the latest news and information on the fight against lung cancer and for lung health.

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.