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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.

Cookies for the Cause

Pulmonary Nurse Jane Reardon is Creating Her Legacy Through the American Lung Association — and Helping Others Do the Same

Jane Reardon seemed destined to make a difference for people with lung disease. After graduating from nursing in 1966, she worked in a respiratory intensive care unit where she noticed that the same patients coming in over and over.

“I’m thinking, what’s going on? Why do these people keep coming back?” she said. Jane soon realized that a major reason was a lack of resources for patients and their families. With help from the American Lung Association Connecticut chapter, Jane and other nurses wrote a book to help those living with lung disease.

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Jane then earned her Master’s in Pulmonary Nursing from Yale and was recruited to start the first pulmonary rehab program in Connecticut.

Since then, Jane has remained committed to improving lung health, most recently advocating for others to join her in making a legacy gift to the American Lung Association. In the past, she has even put her baking skills to work making her famous chocolate chip cookies for every National Board member who joined the Legacy Society!

“The American Lung Association has done so much for me and for my patients. I felt strongly I needed to do something to give back.”

Jane used beneficiary designations for her legacy gift, which she stresses is an especially convenient giving method.

“There are so many ways that you can become a legacy member, and almost everybody knows somebody with a lung problem. This is one way that you can honor them or their memory.”

Beyond that, she also wants everyone to know how simple it is to make this type of gift, saying, “Just do it, it’s so easy.”

Groundbreaking Prevention Study Launched by American Lung Association

Donor-Supported Lung Health Cohort Study to Explore Factors for Lung Disease

We are thrilled to announce the American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort, a study funded through federal grant and donor support that aims to determine factors contributing toward lung disease development. With this study, we hope to gain understanding that helps us prevent lung disease altogether.

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Led by Northwestern Medicine scientists, the Lung Health Cohort is a pioneering nationwide study that will track 4,000 young adults between the ages of 25 and 35. Scientists will follow participants for about five years to evaluate how their environment, lifestyle and physical activity habits affect their lung health.

“The Lung Health Cohort is an ambitious effort to discover what biomarkers as well as genetic and environmental factors lead to the development of lung disease, so we might ultimately prevent the disease,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer.

The longitudinal study is made possible through a $24.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and a $1 million donation from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The goal is to renew the grant to follow the study participants for the rest of their lives.

“This study represents a paradigm shift toward improving lung health rather than always reacting to lung disease,” said principal investigator Dr. Ravi Kalhan, pulmonologist and professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We want to come up with a framework to intercept chronic lung disease before it becomes a problem. Just as primary care doctors can prevent heart attacks by proactively checking patients’ cholesterol levels, we hope this study helps us find the equivalent of ‘cholesterol’ for the lung so that we may react to prevent the disease.”

Recruitment efforts will soon begin at sites across the country, led by many of the best lung disease researchers at top institutions who will leverage our Airways Clinical Research Centers, the largest national non-profit clinical network dedicated to asthma and COPD research.

With the findings from this landmark study, the American Lung Association anticipates gaining invaluable insight into how lung disease develops, and more importantly, how to then use that information to prevent future generations from being affected by this disease.

Will You Rise to the Challenge?

Join the Legacy Challenge to Protect Future Generations From Lung Disease

The future of clean air and lung health must be protected. With this critical goal in mind, the American Lung Association is embarking on a Legacy Challenge to ensure our mission of preventing lung disease and protecting clean air continues on for generations. With our Legacy Challenge, all new planned gift commitments will unlock current support to put to use in furthering our programs, education, research and advocacy today.

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The American Lung Association’s National Board of Directors is the driving force behind our Legacy Challenge. They have generously offered to donate the funds unlocked by each new legacy gift commitment. If you make a new commitment and notify us, then our National Board will make a $1,000 donation in your name. If you provide the estimated value of your future gift to help us in our long-term planning, then you can generate an additional $500.

You can make a planned gift by remembering the American Lung Association in your will or trust, or by naming us as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, insurance policy or other account. A gift of any amount will unlock this significant current support from our Board.

When you tell us about your thoughtful gift through a non-binding commitment form, you can be a part of our challenge, help propel current lung disease prevention initiatives and create your own legacy of improving lung health. With this kind of gift, you are also sending a strong message to the world about your values for clean air and lung health.

Contact our Vice President of Individual and Planned Giving, Cheryl Smoot, at or 312-801-7642 to learn more or to share your plans.

Your Impact on Lung Research

Thanks to You, American Lung Association’s Research is Saving Lives

Highlighting the scientific impact we made this year thanks to supporters like you, our 2021 edition of Advancing Research includes in-depth looks at promising research projects, updates from our award and grant recipients, and compelling patient stories. Here are a few notable takeaways from this year’s publication:

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State of Lung Cancer: In its third year, our “State of Lung Cancer” finds that people of color diagnosed with lung cancer face worse outcomes compared to white Americans, including key indicators that people of color are less likely to be diagnosed early, to receive surgical treatment, and to receive treatment. Lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare is one of the key reasons we see worse outcomes.


Life Lessons Learned while Growing Up with Asthma: In this story, Kate Woodruff talks about managing asthma triggers throughout her life, as she was only one year old when she was diagnosed. “I don’t remember living without asthma,” she said. “I’m grateful that at a young age, I was able to learn about what asthma is and how to control it.”

COVID-19 Action Initiative: Our $25 million initiative aims to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics. In a featured discovery, one of our researchers, John Schoggins, Ph.D., and his international collaborators identified LY6E, a naturally occurring protein that has been shown to inhibit coronavirus infection. Now, they plan to expand their inquiry to see whether LY6E can be translated into treatment options.

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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