Protect Your Lungs Merges with LUNGevity, Creates Premier Lung Cancer Foundation

Established organizations join to combat nation’s deadliest cancer

MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Neumann
(202) 414-0788

sneumann@susandavis.com

CHICAGO and WASHINGTON (June 17, 2010) – To combat the nation’s number one cancer killer, non-profit organizations Protect Your Lungs and LUNGevity Foundation today announced they will join forces in an effort to fund research and hope for a cure for lung cancer. Together, the new organization hopes to create the same successful improvements for lung cancer mortality rates as those experienced by breast, prostate, and colon cancer. The merged organization, committed to elevating lung cancer on the national agenda, will operate under the name LUNGevity Foundation with offices in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

LUNGevity Foundation seeks to have a meaningful and immediate impact on improving survival rates in lung cancer and to ensure a higher quality of life post-diagnosis for lung cancer patients by funding research into the early detection and successful treatment of the disease. The organization will be led by President and Chairman of the Board Andrea Stern Ferris, former executive director of Protect Your Lungs. Beth Ida Stern (no relation) of LUNGevity will serve as executive director.

“The alignment of LUNGevity Foundation with Protect Your Lungs offers hope to countless thousands of individuals and families whose lives have been turned upside down by lung cancer. The passion, energy, and commitment of LUNGevity is an extraordinary asset, and together we will ask the nation to join us in the battle against lung cancer,” said Andrea Stern Ferris, president of LUNGevity. “There is exciting research underway that promises to change the way lung cancer is viewed and treated. We intend to fund that research and make detecting and treating lung cancer first a compelling national priority and then a success story.”

Protect Your Lungs was formed by the Stern family of Potomac, Md. in December 2008 following the death of Patricia Stern. The family’s grief translated into the desire to do something for others battling lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation was founded by seven Chicago-area lung cancer patients who joined together in 2000 with a common goal – to increase funding for lung cancer research. Sadly, only one of the original seven founders survives today.

“Together, we have the premier lung cancer researchers and clinicians, the largest and strongest national grassroots constituency, and the best expertise in our board of directors and staff. The complements between the organizations make the merger a match made in heaven,” said Beth Ida Stern, executive director of LUNGevity. “Together, we will achieve our vision to be an organization that will make meaningful gains in the fight to improve lung cancer survival rates.”

In conjunction with the merger, LUNGevity will shortly announce a campaign to “Stop Lung Cancer Now” with the goal to reduce lung cancer deaths by 50 percent.

“There really is hope for lung cancer patients and their families,” said Jerry Sorkin, vice chairman of LUNGevity’s board of directors. “As a lung cancer survivor, I am thrilled about this merger. We are going to fund more research, create more hope, improve and save more lives. There have been advances in research and many new treatments are available now with others in development. The findings released at ASCO this month showing the effect of a new drug on advanced lung cancer patients who have the gene mutation ‘ALK’ are a perfect example. LUNGevity has always been about finding, creating and sharing hope, and the newly merged organization will have an even greater impact on lung cancer.” 

LUNGevity Foundation will fund lung cancer research through a peer reviewed research process. Its Scientific Advisory Board meets annually to discuss research strategy, share new scientific developments, oversee awarded grant projects, review grant proposals, and determine funding of new grants. LUNGevity will issue two requests for grant applicants each year, one supporting research for the early detection of lung cancer and the other for therapeutic agents that are effective in all stages of the disease. The first of these early detection grants were awarded through Protect Your Lungs to Dr.Steven M. Dubinett and Dr. Kostyantyn Krysan from UCLA and Dr. Samir Hanash, Dr. Gary Goodman, and Dr. Christopher Li from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. To learn more about research grants awarded by LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.lungevity.org/research.

MEDIA NOTE: Media interested in interviewing Andrea Stern Ferris, LUNGevity president and chairman of the board; Beth Ida Stern, LUNGevity executive director; or Jerry Sorkin, lung cancer survivor and vice chairman of LUNGevity’s board of directors, should contact Sara Neumann at 202.414.0788 or sneumann@susandavis.com.

About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is the nation’s fastest growing lung cancer charity. Its mission is to reduce, by half, the number of people who die from lung cancer by the year 2020 and to provide a community for those impacted by the disease. By funding research into the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, LUNGevity works to extend the lives of lung cancer patients and ensure a higher quality of life, post-diagnosis.  For more information, please visit www.lungevity.org.

About Lung Cancer

  • Lung cancer impacts 1 in 14 Americans and is the number one cancer killer – more than breast, colorectal, and prostate, ovarian, non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, and melanoma cancers combined.

  • More than 1.5 times as many women die from lung cancer as from breast cancer.

  • 60 percent of Americans diagnosed with lung cancer either never smoked a cigarette in their lives or had quit smoking.

  • Less than 15 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive 5 years post-diagnosis because of limited early detection opportunities.

  • There is no widely available, effective early diagnostic test available today.

About Andrea Stern Ferris
After losing her mother, Patricia Stern, to lung cancer, Andrea Ferris was instrumental in founding Protect Your Lungs in 2008 and served as the executive director, responsible for the strategic direction and daily operations. Andrea received an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with concentrations in finance and Latin American studies and a BS in Economics from Wharton with concentrations in accounting, decision sciences and finance.

About Beth Ida Stern
Beth Ida Stern decided to dedicate her life to fighting lung cancer when her aunt, Jane Grier, died of the disease in 2006. Like most, Beth was unaware of the realities of the lack of funding for lung cancer research until she was directly affected. Beth will continue in her role as executive director. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan.

About Jerry Sorkin
Jerry Sorkin, father of two young daughters, is a three-time cancer survivor who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in August 2007. He began working with LUNGevity as a member of the communications committee and the strategic planning task force and joined the Board of Directors in October 2009. For more than a decade, Jerry has been a part of the Corporate Executive Board’s leadership team. He earned a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Yale College.

 

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