Whether it’s raising money for lung cancer research, keeping kids off tobacco or fighting for laws that protect the air we breathe, there’s one organization in Georgia that is dedicated to saving lives. On today’s Around Atlanta episode, Executive Director of The American Lung Association Melissa Bauer shares the many programs offered to those suffering from lung disease.
Bauer has a background in corporate finance and eight years ago she took a leap of faith and joined the nonprofit industry.
“I wanted to do something more and give back,” Bauer said. “I enjoy seeing the seeds we plant and watching them grow.”
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. Their work 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.
“This organization was originally founded in 1904 and the mission was to eradicate TB,” Bauer said. “Once TB was no longer a social issue, the organization focused more on lung and air quality.”
While there are many happy statistics to share, such as smoking cessation being at an all-time low, there are still many issues that need to be addressed. Kids are still developing asthma, lung cancer in women has actually increased over the last 30 years and despite the improvements in Atlanta, air quality is still struggling.
Special events, like the recent Power of Breath, Women’s Fashion Luncheon is one of the many ways The American Lung Association in Georgia provides necessary resources and funds to people battling and living with lung diseases. Power of Breath is an event solely focused on Women Leadership and Empowerment. Why women? Most people don’t know that lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of women. The rate of women dying from the disease has increased 79 percent in the last 40 years, and since the mid-1970s, lung cancer diagnoses among women have been on the rise. Even more shocking, thirty percent of the women diagnosed with lunch cancer have never smoked.
“By educating women, we expand our impact and increase the likelihood that women will not only make healthy decisions for themselves, but also for their families,” Bauer said.
A unique event taking place at 8 a.m. April 27 at Promenade Atlanta is the annual Fight For Air Climb event. “This is my favorite event where individuals partake in a unique vertical run challenge,” explains Bauer. “There are 38 flights of stairs, 845 steps. It’s a competitors and completers event where everyone can achieve their own sense of personal accomplishment.” Bauer also explains how even the fittest runners are humbled by the experience. “By flight 25, you realize that you’re struggling to breathe and this gives you an idea of what some people are dealing with every day of their life.”
Over 1,295,850 people suffer from a lung disease in Georgia, and while the Lung Association’s job is never done, they are working every day to give people options for better lung health and much more.
For more incredible events taking place in 2019, and to learn more about The American Lung Association visit www.lung.org. You can also tune into the show with the podcast link above!
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