As I sit down to write this post, I'm reminded of this time last year when I wrote an inaugural post announcing the launch of LUNG FORCE, the American Lung Association's initiative that empowers women to raise their voices and make lung cancer a public health priority. I remember feeling both excited but also nervous about introducing a cause initiative into the public discourse that is already crowded with issues commanding consumers' attention and passion over the past year.
Along with our partner in this cause, CVS Health, we set several lofty goals upon the inception of LUNG FORCE: put lung cancer on the map, drive policy change and increase research funding. My hope was that these conversations would also drive the much-needed financial support that would improve the currently bleak lung cancer statistics, most notably, the fact that even though it's the #1 cancer killer of women, only 1 percent of women cite lung cancer as a women's cancer that is top-of-mind for them.
As I write this today, I can confidently say that LUNG FORCE has helped to deliver many important changes. Not only did we reach billions with our message, we also supported critical health system changes. Next year, millions of Americans at high-risk for lung cancer will - for the first time - have access to lifesaving lung cancer screening. New therapies are also in the pipeline. However, the nation's investment in research must grow to translate the possible to patients. LUNG FORCE is helping to make this a reality.
Most importantly, we learned just how powerful raising our voices for change can be. Stopping the #1 cancer killer of women is everyone's responsibility and through the power of our voices, we can and will stop this deadly disease. As we begin this second year of LUNG FORCE, I have one singular (but important) ask: Share Your Voice. But what does that mean?
SHARE: Share your voice on social media using the hashtag #ShareYourVoice and #LUNGFORCE or in one of the following ways:
- Post a turquoise selfie, using the hashtag #ShareYourVoice and #LUNGFORCE. Like the LUNG FORCE Facebook page and follow LUNG FORCE on Twitter
- If lung cancer has touched your life or someone you love, please share your story at LUNGFORCE.org/share-your-story
- Tell your local Senators and Representatives to invest in lung cancer research at LUNGFORCE.org/take-action
WALK: Commit to fundraising and rallying your friends, neighbors and colleagues to stand together, donate and walk together, against lung cancer. Find more at LUNGFORCE.org/walk.
We at the American Lung Association are thrilled to be partnering with CVS Health as the presenting sponsor of LUNG FORCE. CVS Health is a natural partner for our cause given their bold decision to remove tobacco from all of their CVS/pharmacy locations, as well as their ongoing commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives. You can also show your support to help beat lung cancer and for LUNG FORCE by making a donation at the register of your local CVS/pharmacy or at www.cvs.com/lung now through Saturday, May 23.
While I'm so proud of the progress we've made in our first year, the fact remains that every 8 minutes, a woman in the United States dies of lung cancer. This cannot continue. It's going to take an unstoppable force to change the future of this disease - please Share Your Voice today to help stop the #1 cancer killer of women.