In 2001, seven Chicago lung cancer patients came together to form LUNGevity, an organization dedicated to educational and supportive resources for people with lung cancer and survivors.
At the time, “there were actually no lung cancer funds at all,” says Linda Wenger, the organization’s marketing director.
In 2010, LUNGevity dramatically increased in size and scope when it merged with Protect Your Lungs, an organization founded in 2008 by the family of Patricia A. Stern, who died of an illness. Today, Andrea Ferris, Stern’s daughter, is President and CEO of LUNGevity, and their mission is stronger than ever.
Their purpose “With incredible advances in precision medicine and lung cancer immunotherapy, we have people living longer and we want to help them live better lives,” Wenger says. “We are also very focused on moving science forward so that we can deliver some of the advances to patients.”
Services they provide LUNGevity offers a wide range of services to patients and survivors. Among them:
Educational booklets and brochures are available, many in English and Spanish, as well as free information on their website covering everything from lung cancer stages to screening, biomarker testing and more. Their site also offers a video and webinar library where experts discuss a variety of topics related to lung cancer, records of past events, and survivors who share personal stories.
“Our website is, I would say, the best lung cancer resource you will ever find,” Wenger says.
LUNGevity also provides support services to those diagnosed with lung cancer, including their Lung Cancer Helplinewhere patients and caregivers can speak with the oncology social worker and their LifeLine Support Program, peer-to-peer mentoring that connects people with other patients or caregivers. “We match you with someone who has the same diagnosis as you, who is further along in their journey and who can help you with various aspects of your treatment or clinical trials or whatever,” Wenger says. .
In addition, LUNGevity hosts virtual meetings every weekday, each day dedicated to a different area or activity. You can find their list up-to-date schedule and registration for the meeting on their website.
Developments Every spring LUNGevity holds its HOPE Summit, a private conference where patients and survivors can gather. “It’s a really important place where people come and meet other lung cancer patients,” Wenger says. “[Lung cancer is] such an isolating disease, and so few support groups, and stigma keeps people from socializing.”
For those who prefer not to meet in person due to COVID-19, LUNGevity is now offering its International Conference on Lung Cancer Survival, a virtual event where attendees can hear from lung cancer experts on the latest research, treatment options, and more. “We can serve a large group of people who cannot travel, who may have health problems or financial problems, and we can bring experts online,” says Wenger.
This year’s conference takes place in mid-July and registration is still open. You can also watch videos from last year’s conference on their Web site.
Find out more about the HOPE Summit, International Conference and other LUNGevity events at their event page.
Core Belief “We believe in a world where no one dies of lung cancer,” Wenger says. “We believe survival rates will continue to rise and advances in science will continue to accumulate and advance.”