Hope in Strength

Lung Cancer Heroes®, CURE® Lung Cancer Heroes® 2020 Essay Book, Volume 1,

Deborah Pickworth, who is living with stage 4 lung cancer, was nominated for the Lung Cancer Heroes® award for her impact in supporting and advocating for others with the disease.

It's a tremendous honor and privilege to write this essay for Deborah Pickworth’s nomination for a Lung Cancer Heroes® award on behalf of the American Lung Association. Debbie has made an incredible impact over the past seven years as a passionate advocate for patients with lung cancer. Debbie’s mother and grandmother both died from lung cancer, and Debbie is in her seventh year of living with stage 4 lung cancer. On her arm, you’ll find a tattoo with a special message that reads, “I was given this life because I’m strong enough to handle it.” Debbie’s true strength can be seen in her support for and impact on those with lung cancer.

Debbie has been open and brave throughout her journey, willing to share her personal experience and dedicating countless hours to support others with lung cancer. Debbie runs a lung cancer support group from her home — now virtually — and is an Imerman Angels mentor. She wants to do all she can to make sure others get the support that was not available to her when she heard the words, “You have lung cancer.”

Serving as an advocate for lung cancer survivors is at the heart of Debbie’s work. She is passionate about changing ideas about lung cancer, especially its correlation to smoking. No one deserves this dreadful disease, and she wants people to be aware of their risk regardless of their tobacco use history. We truly value Debbie’s engagement as a member of the American Lung Association’s Patient Advisory Network. Debbie also has joined us in Washington, D.C., for the annual LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day. Debbie’s meetings with representatives are memorable: she shares an album with pictures of all the lung cancer survivors she connects with on a regular basis.

Debbie serves as one of the American Lung Association’s representatives as a consumer reviewer with the Department of Defense’s Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP). Debbie shares her perspective and experiences of other survivors with the LCRP as they address their strategy for the critical needs of the lung cancer research and patient community.

Debbie’s dedication doesn’t end there, though. Debbie continues to be very engaged in the event that brought her to the American Lung Association, the annual LUNG FORCE Walk Detroit. Team Pickworth has worked hard to raise awareness and funds to sup- port the mission of healthy lungs and healthy air, raising more than $17,300 over the past six years. Debbie is also a former event chair and current member of the engagement committee for the event, working with the staff to build a strong committee and succession plan for volunteer leadership.

Tireless, brave and supportive, Debbie is a remark- able volunteer and advocate, which makes her an exceptional candidate for this award. It is our honor to nominate Debbie, and we hope her incredible work will receive the well-deserved recognition.

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