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Create a legacy of clean air and healthy lungs


Welcome to the American Lung Association’s Legacy planned giving online newsletter.

Here, you can find stories about how your support impacts lives across the country and protects the air we breathe. We hope you enjoy these stories and will share your feedback with us.

Smiling About Her Impact

Audrene Lojovich smiles when she thinks about the difference her legacy gift will make for the future of lung health

Audrene Lojovich began her affiliation with the American Lung Association almost three decades ago as a volunteer with an interest in tobacco prevention.

Upon discovering the breadth of the Lung Association’s mission, she set out to learn everything she could about its work in education, advocacy and research.

As her passion for the cause increased, Audrene’s role with the Lung Association also grew. She is especially proud of having led the alliance of the Lung Association’s many affiliate and state offices.

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For Audrene, the research funded by the Lung Association is what is most compelling – especially the work of Dr. Mary Ellen Avery. With the support of an American Lung Association Research Grant, Avery discovered that babies born premature lack the surfactant needed to keep their tiny lungs inflated. By injecting corticosteroids into pregnant mothers, the surfactant production is enhanced, saving lives every day.

“Fourteen years ago, my twin granddaughters were born at 26 weeks and 2.25 pounds each,” says Audrene. “They were treated as a result of Dr. Avery’s research, and I believe it is one of the reasons they survived and are healthy today.”

Because the American Lung Association continues to save lives, Audrene was inspired to make a legacy gift by naming our organization as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

“My legacy gift is an extension of my passion for the American Lung Association and my hopes for future breakthroughs to improve lung health and prevent lung disease,” says Audrene. “And that makes me smile.”

The Black Community and Lung Health

The American Lung Association recently convened experts in racism as a public health crisis to share useful insights 

As the nation’s oldest voluntary public health organization, the American Lung Association has an extensive history of working to reduce lung health disparities by raising awareness and taking action to address them. To continue this important work, our National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council hosted an educational webinar featuring experts in racism as a public health crisis as one of several activities honoring Black History Month.

Beginning in 2020, elected leaders across the country began passing resolutions declaring racism a public health crisis. Milwaukee County was the first place in the country to make such a declaration. During our recent webinar, participants heard from Lilliann Paine, one of the key individuals behind that work. Also on the panel was Dr. Ozuru Ukoha, who spoke about the clinical implications of these types of declarations and how they must be followed with action.

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During this panel, attendees learned from Paine that Black Americans are 18% less likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer early and 21% less likely to survive 5 years. They also discovered that the asthma death rate is 2.8 times greater among Black Americans than in white Americans, among other startling statistics showing the significant inequity that exists in lung disease and care.

Dr. Ukoha explained why racism is a public health crisis overall. In general, this is because Black people are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions, including chronic lung diseases, have unequal access to health care, and live in medically underserved communities. It’s also critical to note that Black women are 3–4 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications while Black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police. These and other reasons make racism a pressing health crisis that must be eradicated through efforts across the board.

You can view this illuminating conversation below, and we invite all supporters to review our 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Year in Review Report. This informative resource highlights the work of our DEI Council in its inaugural year and the ongoing efforts of staff nationwide to drive equitable and sustainable community health impact.

An Easy ‘No-Cost-Now’ Way to Give

By naming the American Lung Association as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or other accounts, you can help us create a world without lung disease

If you want to help save lives from lung disease for generations to come with a gift that doesn’t affect your current finances, then a beneficiary designation could be the best option for you. 

When you name the American Lung Association as a beneficiary of your bank accounts, retirement funds, savings bonds and more, you power research, education and advocacy into the future. Other benefits of this way to give? It doesn’t require a trip to your attorney’s office, and it also could help save on taxes for your loved ones down the road.

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Gifts by beneficiary designation are simple and easy to complete, and you can change or update your beneficiaries at any time. Simply request a change of beneficiary form from your financial institution and add the American Lung Association to create your legacy of saving lives from lung disease.

Another advantage of this way to give is that it can reduce the future tax burden for your loved ones. Because the American Lung Association is tax-exempt, the full value of your retirement or other account will be put to use to help end lung disease when you name us as the beneficiary.

When you leave your IRA to your loved ones, on the other hand, they may have to pay federal income tax on the distributions. Income taxes to your beneficiaries on retirement assets can be as high as 37 percent. This means, for example, that a $100,000 IRA will be worth only $63,000 when it gets to your loved ones, while it would be worth $100,00 if you were to leave it to the American Lung Association.

Beneficiary designation gifts are a popular way to leave a lasting impact on our life-changing research, education and advocacy. Contact our National Assistant Vice President of Individual and Planned Giving, Cheryl Smoot, at or 312-801-7642 to learn more today.

Your Impact on Lung Research

New Screening Guidelines Expected to Save Lives of More People like Denise

The U.S. Preventative Services Taskforce recently updated its lung cancer screening guidelines for the first time since 2013. Those considered high risk under the new criteria include people 50-80 years old with a 20 or higher pack-year history (1 pack/day for 20 years, 2 packs/day for 10 years, etc.) who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years.

Lung cancer screening is the best way to prevent lung cancer deaths—the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. In fact, if lung cancer is caught at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is five times higher.

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“With lung cancer, early detection is key,” says LUNG FORCE Hero, Denise. Denise was a smoker for 35 years and had quit just 9 months before she saw an American Lung Association ad about getting screened for lung cancer. She later asked her doctor about having a low dose CT scan, which revealed a malignant tumor in her upper left lobe.

After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy, Denise has been cancer-free since 2018. She credits the billboard and screening for saving her life. “As I’ve participated in this journey, I realize how lucky and blessed I am,” she says.

Experiencing firsthand the difference screening can make, Denise is thrilled that the guidelines will mean more people like her will benefit from early detection. “By dropping the age from 55 to 50, more people can get screened earlier, which means catching the disease earlier, better treatment options and lives saved.”

Red billboard with the words 'If You Smoked: This new lung cancer screening could save your life' against a blue sky.

We are very sorry to share the passing of longtime Lung Association team member, Marina Tanzer.

Marina worked out of the Brookfield, WI office as a regional planned giving lead, before being promoted to National Director, Planned Giving, Estate and Trust Administration. Marina was the consummate planned giving professional. She used her legal training to help guide those donors who wanted to plan for future gifts to us, as well as the legal professionals and families of donors no longer with us who left us gifts.

Please join us in sending sympathy to her family and friends.

We are here to answer any questions and to discuss these options to achieve your personal and philanthropic goals. Please email us with any questions you may have.

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