American Lung Association in Kentucky Turns Turquoise in Honor of National Women's Lung Health Week

Local Louisville resident shares his experience with lung cancer, to raise awareness about the disease, importance of lung cancer research

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Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts

LOUISVILLE KY (05/08/2018) (readMedia)-- The American Lung Association and its LUNG FORCE initiative is turning Louisville turquoise during National Women's Lung Health Week (May 6-12) in support of those whose lives have been impacted by lung cancer.

LUNG FORCE is uniting the nation to raise voices and make lung cancer-the leading cause of cancer deaths among women and men-a public health priority.

Landmarks and communities across the nation, including the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the LG & E Center, the Louisville Water Co, Fourth Street Live, the YUM Center Kiosk, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Cellar Door Chocolates, the Louisville Science Center, the Center for Interfaith Relations, and Signarama, were illuminated last night in turquoise, the signature color of LUNG FORCE.

"Lung cancer has been in the shadows for far too long. When you think of cancers affecting women, most people don't initially think of lung cancer, yet it's the leading cancer killer of both women and men," said American Lung Association in Kentucky Director of Advocacy Heather Wehrheim. "We're raising awareness about lung cancer through LUNG FORCE and during National Women's Lung Health Week, and are proud to stand with those facing the disease."

In Kentucky an estimated 5,150 women and men combined will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year alone. Yet according to the Lung Health Barometer, only 3 percent of women consider lung cancer a top-of-mind health concern. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative – nationally presented by CVS Health – is seeking to change this.

During National Women's Lung Health Week, the Lung Association is highlighting the experiences of LUNG FORCE Heroes, those whose lives have been impacted by lung cancer, including local resident Stephen Tong.

"Having been diagnosed with lung cancer in both lungs, and after my first surgery, I knew I was given the opportunity to stay around so I could spread the word and advocate for clean air, increased research and a cure," Tong said.

In mid-March, Tong joined LUNG FORCE Heroes from across the country in Washington DC, visiting the offices of Kentucky's legislators so share the message about lung cancer.

"Lung cancer lends no favoritism to any person, in fact those who have never smoked are susceptible to this horrific disease," he continued. "Early detection saved my life and helped me become aware of just how many people are affected. Together, collectively we can be the strong voice in advocating for early screening, cleaner air, increased funding for additional research, adequate health care coverage and ultimately finding a cure,"

"I've been honored to know Stephen Tong and to highlight his powerful voice. Through hearing his story, and other stories like his, we can better understand the impact lung cancer has on so many lives and realize the urgent need to take action," said Wehrheim, who accompanied him in Washington. "Together, we are working to advocate for and fund lung cancer research, so that we can develop new treatment options and better methods of early detection."

Facts about lung cancer:

• Lung cancer accounts for only 4 percent of all American cancer survivors.

• An estimated 234,030 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.

• Risk factors include smoking as well as exposure to radon gas, secondhand smoke and air pollution. Genetic factors can play a role and sometimes the cause of lung cancer is not known.

• Early detection and treatment of lung cancer translates to higher survival rates, however only 18 percent of lung cancer cases among women are diagnosed early, when the disease is more curable.

During National Women's Lung Health Week, the American Lung Association encourages everyone to get involved by wearing turquoise, turning their social media profiles turquoise, and donating at

From May 6 - 26, CVS Pharmacy customers can make a donation of $1, $3 or more at the register to raise funds for lung cancer awareness, research and education. The in-store fundraising campaign is part of Be The First, a 5-year $50 million initiative funded through CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. Customers can also visit for easy ways to help their communities become tobacco-free and access discounts on quit smoking resources.

In addition, CVS Pharmacy will donate $1 for every pack of Extra Gum that is purchased, up to $100,000 to the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:


LUNG FORCE is a national initiative led by the American Lung Association to unite women against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: 1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about – and act on; 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and 3) Raise critical funds for lung cancer research. The American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at