Supporters Like You

Read about supporters who have been commited to improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

Supporters like you are joining us in the journey for healthy air and healthy lungs, making it their legacy to create a world without lung disease. These are people who believe what you believe.

Meet some of them here.

Dr. Linda Ford

For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has been a leader in helping people quit smoking, fighting for healthy air, investing in critical research for lung disease, and, now, defeating lung cancer. We are only able to do that through the help of our donors like Dr. Linda Ford, who explains why she’s a member of the American Lung Association’s Legacy Society. Learn how you can help save lives.

Jim Ryan

When Jim Ryan’s wife, Marlene, passed away from pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2016, he wanted to do something that would honor her life and make a great impact for future generations. He chose to make a gift in his will to the American Lung Association.

Harold P. Wimmer

Harold P. Wimmer, National President & CEO of the American Lung Association, began working at the American Lung Association at the age of 23 as a health educator. Harold has dedicated his career to the organization’s mission and truly believes in the work we are doing. That’s why he has become a member of the Legacy Society and set up a gift to the Lung Association.

Jon Rosen

Jon Rosen, longtime volunteer leader for the American Lung Association, believes in “paying it forward.” His decision to create several charitable gift annuities has benefits for both the Lung Association’s work and for Jon.

“We feel that American Lung and the other associations are the associations that will have the greatest impact on the future.”

—Jim Ryan

Marvin and Cheryl Spychaj

Marvin Spychaj is passionate about preventing people from ever starting to smoke and, if they have, helping them quit. His life has been marked by a number of losses due to the effects of smoking, including the death of his father from lung cancer at a relatively young age on Christmas Day. As Marvin recalls, this was “one of the unforgettable moments of his life.”

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“I want to help prevent other families from ever experiencing what I did,” said Marvin recently when we spoke with him and his wife, Cheryl. “I believe the American Lung Association is the premiere organization to address lung health and lung diseases. They are uniquely equipped to educate people about the dangers of smoking and to help them quit if they do smoke.”

Marvin and Cheryl are both supporters of the Lung Association and other charities. This past year, when COVID-19 hit, they realized that these charities would need increased support, so they looked for ways to make an additional impact.

Both their financial and tax advisors suggested that they look at making their charitable gifts using a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from their IRAs. Marvin was nearing the age where he was going to have to take the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from his IRA and knew that he would have to pay taxes on that income. At this time, the Spychajs do not need the income from their IRAs, so using them to make charitable contributions just made sense.

Marvin says, “If one can afford to do it, making a gift from your IRA is a reasonable and practical way of supporting a charity. We wanted to increase the size of our gift and looked for the best ways to do this. Not only were we able to make a larger gift, but we also saved on our taxes. And because we weren’t using our regular income, we’ve been able to continue to build our ‘nest egg.’”

The Spychajs plan on approaching their future giving by continuing to make gifts through QCDs for as long as they are able. “We believe we are putting our money to good use.”

For more information on how to make a gift through a Qualified Charitable Distribution, you can read more on our website or contact Cheryl Smoot, National Assistant Vice President, Individual & Planned Giving, at or 312-801-7642.

Betty Toole

Betty Toole vividly remembers sitting in a restaurant in San Francisco 30 years ago unable to eat because of all the cigarette smoke.

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Now the Marin County resident doesn’t have to worry about smoke when she enjoys a meal and she credits the American Lung Association for protecting her right to breathe smokefree air. It is one of the reasons she has included the American Lung Association in her living trust.

“I wanted to give to an organization that was really making a difference, really doing something about the issues I care about – smoking and air pollution,” says Toole.

Mrs. Toole is a retired educational evaluator, an avid Scrabble player, and author of the widely acclaimed “Ada: The Enchantress of Numbers,” a combination biography and letters of the “mother of computer programming.” It is the story of Ada Lovelace, the “mother of computer programming.”

“I am so impressed by the breadth of the organization’s work in the areas of research, education and advocacy to help those with lung disease and protect the lungs of everyone,” continues Ms. Toole. “Whether it’s air pollution, climate change, tobacco use, asthma, COPD, or lung cancer, the Lung Association is leading the way, providing hope for a better future. I want to continue their critical work through my living trust.”

Bob and Martha Sobie

Bob and Martha Sobie have dedicated many years to serving their community, including providing extraordinary support to the American Lung Association.

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They met while attending Northern Illinois University. Bob has had a long career as a Business and Technology professor and Martha has had a career with the YMCA. A gifted musician, Martha also shares her talent as an oboist throughout their local area.

Both Bob and Martha are passionate about the great outdoors and enjoy camping, canoeing and hiking.

Several decades ago, Bob met Harold Wimmer, then an Executive Director of the Lung Association in Illinois and now CEO of the American Lung Association. That meeting led to a lasting bond of friendship and shared purpose.

From the beginning, Bob and Martha volunteered to support children’s asthma camps, which focus on improving the physical condition and psychological outlook of children with asthma. It became important to the Sobies to fund programs for children and advance asthma education. Bob also became a volunteer leader of the organization through years of dedicated board service.

“Making the world a better place is important to us.” say the Sobies. “The American Lung Association has made incredible strides in lung health, and we trust that it will continue to make breakthroughs in the decades ahead.”

As new grandparents, the Sobies want to ensure that future generations continue to be educated about lung health. They have accomplished that by including a gift to the American Lung Association in their will.

Bob and Martha have ensured the impact of the Lung Association’s mission will be felt by countless people living in America for years to come. We are truly grateful for their lifetime of support and this visionary gift. Together, we will save more lives and move toward our vision of a world free of lung disease.


Adam Goldberg

If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters” is a statement Adam Goldberg supports. Adam was diagnosed with asthma at age four which prompted his father to quit smoking the same day.

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He also attended the Lung Association’s asthma education classes with his parents when he was a child. As a young lawyer at a small law firm he was asked to do some legal work for the local Lung Association office and chatted with its Executive Director about their programs and his history of asthma. Adam was asked to join the local board and has been actively involved with the American Lung Association for over two decades, serving on the board of directors locally, regionally and nationally.

Adam is a lawyer who specializes in charitable organizations, estate planning and probate & trust administration. He often donates his time and expertise to present at American Lung Association Estate Planning Seminars, at staff conferences and at board meetings. Adam also teaches at the law schools of the University of Miami and Nova Southeastern University. He reminds his law students that it is so easy to leave a legacy to a charity, like the American Lung Association to support asthma, lung cancer, research or clean air.

Adam also practices what he teaches. In addition to is dedicated work volunteering and fundraising for the American Lung Association, he will also make a gift that lasts. By including the American Lung Association in his estate plan, he is a member of the Legacy Society.

“I feel good knowing that I am leaving something behind that will help after I am gone. It truly is a lasting contribution.”

—Pauline Grant

Pauline Grant

Pauline Grant has been actively involved in her local Lung Association for almost two decades, from participating in special events to serving on the board of directors.

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An asthmatic since childhood, Pauline knows the organization’s dedication to healthy air and healthy lungs can make a difference.

“The American Lung Association’s school programs for children with asthma, like Asthma 101 and Open Airways for Schools, are so important,” Grant says. “One of my two daughters also has asthma, so I have always made it a priority to give back and help the organization however I can.”

Asthma, a chronic, potentially deadly lung disease, affects roughly 25 million people living in America; 6.2 million of those are children. The American Lung Association funds vital research on asthma treatment (most notably our national Asthma Clinical Research Centers Network) and conducts education classes for children and adults alike concerning the disease.

Pauline has decided that in addition to her hard work volunteering and fundraising for the American Lung Association, she will also make a gift that lasts. By remembering the American Lung Association in her estate plans, she is now a member of the prestigious American Lung Association Legacy Society.

“I feel good knowing that I am leaving something behind that will help after I am gone,” Grant says. “It truly is a lasting contribution.” The American Lung Association Legacy Society was created to recognize those who have remembered the American Lung Association in their estate plans.

Richard Muller

Richard Muller first became involved with the American Lung Association more than 35 years ago when he signed up for a three day 200-mile bike trek for Clean Air.

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“We had ham sandwiches for lunch for three days,” says Richard, “and when I suggested a better menu, the Lung Association’s Executive Director appointed me Chair of the Food Committee.”

Richard continues, “The next year I suggested a better route, and I was appointed Chair of the Route Committee. And when I suggested we could do better with lodging, I became not only Chair of Lodging but a member of the local Board of Directors.” Richard’s leadership helped raise significant funds for his local Lung Association and he was recognized for fundraising excellence.

Richard’s expertise in television and advertising was also helpful while he served on the Lung Association’s National Board. Leading a task force on communications, Richard was instrumental in the organization’s embrace of the initial internet and online communication.

Today, when Richard is not teaching marketing to business students or working on his homestead, he can usually be found riding a bike, “breathing the cleanest air I can find.”

“I read the Lung Association’s State of the Air Reports which monitor the quality of our air,” says Richard. “Clean air is vital to all, especially those who suffer with a lung disease.”

Richard is a member of the American Lung Association’s Legacy Society which honors those individuals who have included a legacy gift in their estate plans.

“My estate gift may be unique,” says Richard, “because I have directed my legacy gifts to clean air initiatives, an area that I believe it will do most good. You can’t take it with you, and it’s important to put your money toward good causes like the American Lung Association.”

Ron Suchanek & Jen Hahn

The mission of the American Lung Association is close to Ron Suchanek’s heart. He and his wife Jen’s decision to leave a residual portion of their estate to the American Lung Association through their will is both personal and professional.

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Ron is a registered respiratory therapist and unfortunately, lost his father to lung cancer several years ago.

Ron and Jen love the outdoors and are very active. Both of them have participated in many Lung Association events including the Reach the Beach cycling event and even climbing Mt. Hood through the Climb for Clean Air/Reach the Summit program. In fact, Ron and Jen met through that event. Ron has also been a volunteer and served as a local Leadership Board president.

Ron says, “I have seen the devastating effect of lung disease through my work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist and my personal experience with my dad. By including the Lung Association in my estate plans, I’m helping to ensure that my work today in helping people breathe easier continues even when my wife and I are gone.”

Sharon Verbrugge’s

Service to her community has been an important part of Sharon Verbrugge’s life as wife, mother, church and community member.

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Throughout the years, she has been involved with Make-A-Wish, Horsepower Therapeutic Riding, St. Francis House emergency shelter and transitional housing program for the homeless and as Deacon and Sunday School Superintendent for her church.

Sharon has also raised funds for the American Lung Association. “It is easy to raise donations for the American Lung Association and even easier to ask for them,” says Sharon.

Sharon knows firsthand the impact tobacco has on life and families. She grew up in a family of smokers. “The health dangers were not really made aware to me until my father died. He had a brain tumor. When the autopsy was performed, they further discovered he had cancer throughout his lungs.”

A few years ago, Sharon took out a life insurance policy on behalf of the American Lung Association. By making a modest annual gift of the premium, a benefit in excess of what may otherwise be possible is provided for our charity.

“It was my husband, Percy, that informed me about this option, and I’m glad that I became a member of the American Lung Association Legacy Society. My legacy gift couldn’t go to a better place,” says Sharon.

Through the significant impact made possible with a gift of life insurance, Sharon will leave a legacy that will enrich the research, education and advocacy programs of the American Lung Association for future generations.

“It was my husband, Percy, that informed me about this option, and I’m glad that I became a member of the American Lung Association Legacy Society. My legacy gift couldn’t go to a better place.”

—Sharon Verbrugge

Bill and Mary Hartman

Bill and Mary Hartman are fondly remembered as good people who did many good things for friends and family in their lives.

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They believed that they were blessed in their lives and wanted to share their blessings with the others.

Mary’s only time away from her small hometown was while she attended college. Upon graduation, she began her teaching career in a one room school house.

Bill served in WWII and became owner of an established family business that constructed fine homes. A long and faithful member of the Rotary organization, he was known as an intelligent business man, skilled builder, talented craftsman and an informed and wise investor.

Throughout their lives, Bill and Mary were hard workers who focused on helping others. Their acts of kindness, often unknown to others, were numerous. Lending a helping hand and helping those in financial need were second nature to them.

The Hartmans were also strong advocates of the American Lung Association’s work to fight tobacco use. They were especially sensitive to the needs of children and young adults and, knowing that cigarette smoking during childhood and adolescence causes significant health problems among young people, they supported our advocacy to increase the legal minimum age for sale of tobacco and nicotine products to age 21 as well as smokefree air.

By leaving a legacy gift to the American Lung Association through their estate, Bill and Mary Hartman have extended their life story of generosity to help the American Lung Association help new generations live long and healthy lives.

Audrene Lojovich

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

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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 through leadership service at both her local association, and the national level. She is especially proud of having led the alliance of the Lung Association’s many affiliate and state offices. Through this effort, improved operational efficiencies were achieved and superior stewardship of donors’ financial support was strengthened.

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

“Fourteen years ago,” says Audrene, “my twin granddaughters were born at 26 weeks and 2.25 pounds each. 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.”

Bea Klier

Bea Klier loves life. At 98 years old, she continues to pursue new ways to enhance her mind. As a scientist who spent two decades at the New York Academy of Sciences, Bea knows that research and learning moves us forward.

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In 2010, Bea contacted the American Lung Association after her only daughter, Karen Kidder, died of lung cancer at the age of 65. Bea was amazed to learn that the five-year survival rate for lung cancer was under 16%, much lower than most other leading cancers. In fact, over half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed. “There aren’t as many ‘faces’ of lung cancer because the survival rate is so low,” said Bea. “I want to hear more stories of survival, and I know that our best hope of achieving this is through funding more research.”

With a $25,000 donation to the American Lung Association, Bea memorialized her daughter Karen. “She was my star,” said Bea of Karen. “From the time she was 6 years old, I knew that this child was a natural born leader and that she’d accomplish great things.”

Bea also supports the American Lung Association as a Legacy Society member. By including the Lung Association in her will, other families faced with a lung cancer diagnosis can have greater hope for survival.

Join the Legacy Society

Together we can do so much.

Join a community of people who share your passion for ending lung disease by becoming a member of our Legacy Society.