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Lung Force expo, walk aim to educate, raise awareness

Lung cancer kills an average of 422 Americans daily.

Smoking is the main cause of these cases, although air pollution, radon and asbestos also contribute.

More than 35 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, COPD (which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and other lung diseases.

Western New York tends to have higher rates of these conditions, which helps explain why the American Lung Association in New York has become a greater presence in the region.

“We have volunteers active in communities teaching people how to adhere to medication for asthma, and we also have people who are activated to teach an eight-week program, Freedom from Smoking, for smoking cessation,” said Kaelyn Gates, manager for development in the western region of the state.

The association raised more than $170,000 in March during the region’s ninth annual Fight for Air Climb and has two more events on tap this month.

  • A second annual Lung Force Expo — which provides information to help health professionals, caregivers and individuals better manage a variety of lung diseases — will take place next Saturday at The Grapevine Banquets facility in Depew.
  • The second annual Lung Force Walk, which aims to raise $70,000, will take place May 30 at Buffalo Harbor State Park.

Learn more and register for both on the homepage at, or call 271-6386.

An upcoming Lung Force Expo will focus on different tracks for health professionals, and those impacted by lung diseases, said Kaelyn Gates, manager for development in the western region of the state.

The bulk of money raised in the region will stay here, Gates said, including for continuing work by Joseph Barbi, a researcher at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. The association also hosts a monthly Better Breathers Club support meeting; for dates and times, which vary, call 447-6205.

This year’s Lung Force Expo will focus on patient assistance, including how to navigate copays and manage medications, and in part on palliative care.

“A lot of times, patients and their caregivers assume palliative care is hospice,” Gates said, “but really it’s managing disease so someone is comfortable and not in pain. It’s an extra way for people to feel better, and have a better quality of life as they’re dealing with their disease.”

Asthma, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis will be among the conditions explored during the expo.

Participants also will learn more about pulmonary rehab and play a harmonica, which Gates said is a good way to strengthen lungs.

The festivities for the Lung Force Walk begin at 5:30 with entertainment, food trucks, and informational tents before the walk kicks off at 6:45 p.m.

Experts, including health care providers, will be on hand to tell participants more about research, prevention, treatment and association advocacy.


Twitter: @BNrefresh@ScottBScanlon

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