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

  • Share this page:


Laura W.


When I was just 12 years old, I lost my beloved Grandpa (Gordon Bailey) to lung cancer. He was a life-long smoker.

Fast forward to 1997, I was engaged and my future mother-in-law, Georgia Earlene, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She too, a life-long smoker. I had the honor of being at Georgia's bedside with Kevin, my soon-to-be husband, as Georgia took her last breath. I will never forget that day: January 8, 1998.

Forward again to many years later and I received a phone call from my Mom. She told me my Aunt Joan had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. I was was the family. Joan never smoked a day in her life, nor did her spouse or children. How could this be? Aunt Joan battled hard for the next couple of years. She had a lung removed, endured chemo. Fought tough. She succumbed to this disease in late October 2011.

Aunt Joan was a wonderful mother of four, grandmother to eight. She was an artist and crafter. Aunt Joan never forgot a birthday. Always loved a holiday! She was kind, loving and thoughtful. I had knee surgery years ago, and other than my Mom, Aunt Joan called me that night "to just check on me."

I dedicate my run on November 8 to Grandpa, Georgia and Aunt Joan. But most especially I want to have my personal best run for Aunt Joan. She fought hard, was full of life and spirit and didn't deserve a disease known to affect "only smokers." My love and dedication to Grandpa, Georgia and Aunt Joan. My heart always with you as your spirits are with me.

First published: May 5, 2017

  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.