Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the United States for both men and women. But stars of movies, television, music, and comedy are lending their power to the organizations that are determined to change that statistic.
One of the biggest names in the fight is award-winning actor Laura Dern, who serves as adviser to the board of directors of the American Lung Association.
Dern was partly inspired into action by the effects that the disease had on her grandfather, who died when she was only 6.
That personal connection drew her to the ALA, she says. “I am proud to partner with the Lung Association because they work hard to save lives through investments in education, advocacy and research.”
The association is grateful for the assist.
“Laura Dern is a beloved, accomplished actress who has an authentic connection to our mission to save lives and improve lung health,” says Julia Fitzgerald, the ALA’s chief marketing officer.
“Thanks to her personal experience and powerful ability to captivate millions of people, we can help get our messaging out to more Americans who are afflicted by lung disease.”
Dern’s main vehicle has been Lung Force, an ALA-sponsored group founded in 2014 to raise awareness about lung cancer while bringing together women across the country whose lives are touched by the disease.
She draws inspiration from actor Valerie Harper, a close friend who was part of Lung Force until her death from lung disease in 2019.
“A few years ago, I had the privilege of playing author Cheryl Strayed’s mom in the film adaptation of Cheryl’s book Wild. Cheryl’s mother, Bobbi, also died of lung cancer,” Dern says.
“In doing research for the role, I discovered that lung cancer is diagnosed in one woman every five minutes. I want to ensure that no one ever has to lose a loved one from lung disease. That’s when I started working with the American Lung Association.” Dern received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the portrayal. She wore a turquoise dress, in honor of Lung Force, at the ceremony.