2018-2019 Impact Report

Our Mission

The mission of the Lung Cancer Initiative is to save lives and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, education, awareness, and access programs across North Carolina.

Our Vision

To improve life for everyone affected by lung cancer.

Our Core Values

  • Passionate support of survivorship
  • Building Community
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism
  • Responsible stewardship

Expenses for Fiscal Year 2018

*2018 Audited Financials

View our audited financials and 990 online.


In 2019, Lung Cancer Initiative is funding $335,000 toward research through our research fellows, Career Development Award and Vicky Amidon Innovation in Lung Cancer Research Award.  Since 2008, LCI has funded more than $1.8 million in lung cancer research.

2019 Research Fellows 

Ryan Hughes, MD (Wake Forest Baptist Health)

Project Title: Exhaled Breath Analysis to Assess Pneumonitis Development after Chemoradiotherapy for Stage III NSCLC

Mark Woodcock, MD* (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Project Title: Determinants of Immunotherapy Response in Lung Cancer

*2019 Lung Cancer Initiative Outstanding Fellow Applicant

Sheenu Sheela, MD, FACP (Atrium Health's Levine Cancer Institute)

Project Title: Feasibility of Testing Autoantibody Biomarkers for Lung Cancer in a Cohort of High-Risk Smokers via an In-Patient Community-Based Hospital Project

Michael Dorry, MD (Duke University Medical Center)

Project Title: Lymphocyte Exhaustion Markers in Malignant Pleural Effusions of Lung Cancer

Lee Ann Jarrett Johnson, PhD (East Carolina University)

Project Title: A Comparative Analysis of Lung Cancer Treatment in a Local and National Sample with Lung Cancer

Career Development Award 

The inaugural Lung Cancer Initiative Career Development Award was given to Emily B. Harrison, Ph.D., post-doctoral trainee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The $150,000 grant will help fund Dr. Harrison’s research in inhibiting the mechanisms of lung cancer metastasis over the course of the next two years.

“Defining the pathways that drive metastasis will provide new therapeutic targets and biomarkers,” said Harrison. “If we can prevent cancer’s spread, we can save lives. I am honored to work with LCI as I build my career in lung cancer research.”   

Vicky Amidon Innovation in Lung Cancer Research Award    

Andrew Bishop, PhD, Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Health, was the first recipient of the $25,000 Vicky Amidon Innovation in Lung Cancer Research to evaluate the potential to develop a lung cancer screening breath test to be used by clinicians for non-invasive lung cancer screening.  This award is named in memory of Vicky Amidon, a beloved wife and mother who passed from lung cancer at the age of 44 and recognizes and supports researchers who are developing innovative lung cancer projects that will improve the lives of those at risk of or living with lung cancer.




Lung Cancer Initiative’s strategic three-year vision was to reach all 100 counties by the year 2019.  LCI has impacted patients in 93 out of 100 counties to date as represented by the counties shaded on the map above.  In 2019, LCI is funding 450 $50 gas cards to help patients access appropriate care and treatment. 

Access Grants

Through our access grant program, Lung Cancer Initiative seeks to award up to three $10,000 grants annually to assist institutions in improving access to lung cancer screening, treatment, clinical trials, comprehensive biomarker testing or precision medicine for uninsured or underinsured individuals.

2019 Access Grantees

Novant Health will seek to improve access to care for uninsured individuals at high risk for lung cancer in Mecklenburg County. Through partnerships with local community health clinics, they will identify and encourage uninsured high-risk individuals who are long-term smokers or have had long-term exposure to secondhand smoke to enroll in program activities and will collaborate with community partners to identify 25 uninsured individuals at high risk for lung cancer. Staff delivers education, smoking cessation counseling, nicotine patches, low-dose CT scans and gasoline cards for patients who need transportation assistance for screening appointments with the goal of reducing late-stage lung cancer diagnosis among this patient population.


Cone Health Cancer Center will offer a free lung cancer screening clinic with a medical oncologist, pulmonologist and radiologist for high-risk men and women within the North Carolina community who are uninsured. A high-risk patient is someone who has smoked a pack of cigarettes per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years. After a high-risk patient is referred to the clinic, physicians will discuss the risks and benefits of low-dose lung cancer screening to decide if participants fall within the recommended guidelines.


Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (RTT) will be partnering with Wake County and NC DHHS to help install radon mitigation systems in the homes of low-income homeowners in eastern Wake County. This region is dealing with high radon levels and this program will work to reduce the level of radon in these families’ homes. RTT believes everyone deserves to live in a safe, healthy home, and this program will support our efforts to improve the home environments for individuals and families in Wake County.




2019 Advocacy Summit:  Breaking the Stigma of Lung Cancer

On August 16 and 17, the Lung Cancer Initiative hosted the annual Advocacy Summit in Durham with the theme of of “Breaking the Stigma” associated with lung cancer. Presenters included internationally-recognized expert Joan Schiller, MD, University of Virginia who introduced the concept of lung cancer as a stigmatized disease and presented data as a part of The Lung Cancer Project which indicated the benefit of advocacy in shifting perceptions of the disease. View speaker presentations from this year’s Summit online.

Power Up Series

The Power Up Series is comprised of community education events hosted by local cancer centers across the state.  With topics including integrative medicine, advance directives, supportive care, lung cancer in women, and updates from the 2019 ASCO meeting, this year’s series was tailored to meet specific interests of past participants.  All programs were videoed and can be viewed online.  

Wellness Retreat

Wind River Cancer Wellness Retreats led the second annual Lung Cancer Survivor Wellness Retreat funded by Lung Cancer Initiative on September 13 through 15 in Greensboro, NC.  Ten lung cancer survivors and an all-survivor lead team participated in this event to teach wellness and stress reducing techniques as well as to foster a network among survivors. 




Health Fairs 

Lung Cancer Initiative participated in 20 health fairs and community presentations in 2019 thanks to the hospitality of a number of community centers, churches, hospitals and other agencies.  Thank you to the health fair volunteers and lung cancer survivors who enable us to raise awareness at so many events across the state.


LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk & Rally 

More than 2,020 individuals stepped out for three fun-filled events in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro and raised more than $445,000 to benefit lung cancer research and education across the state.  Each event remembered those that have been lost to lung cancer and celebrated the more than 90 survivors who were in attendance.



Top Three Fundraisers in Each LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk & Rally*
Charlotte – Event Chair, Jen Ersek
Kelly Keesling - $6,100
Angie Madigan - $3,250
Cathy Markey - $3,010
Raleigh – Event Chairs, Shannon Blankenship & Elatt Spiller
Shirley Sulick - $18,575
Graham Self - $3,195
Ryan Kurtz - $2,175
Greensboro – Event Chair, Emily Parks
Emily Parks - $10,248
Scott Riddle - $10,025
Rob Youth - $5,000

*As of December 6, 2019


Evening of Hope – Event Chair, Angela Nicholson 

The 2019 Evening of Hope Gala raised $138,576 to benefit Lung Cancer Initiative with the theme of “Solving the Mystery” in the hopes that research advancements will someday lead to a cure.  More than three hundred attendees participated in the silent and live auctions and heard from keynote speaker Adam Klein the winner of the 2016 series of CBS Survivor who lost his mother to lung cancer.



Events from Around the State 

Triangle Lung Cancer Golf Classic

The first annual Triangle Lung Cancer Golf Classic presented by Susan C. Hicks Hope Charities was held in Durham, NC and included 88 players and raised more than $40,000 to benefit the Lung Cancer Initiative.

Hickory Lung Cancer Golf Classic

The eighth annual event was held in Hickory, NC and raised more than $28,000 to benefit Lung Cancer Initiative.


From the Astra Zeneca team’s hike at Grandfather Mountain, to the wine walk at Lafayette Village, to the LEC Charity Golf Tournament in Goldsboro, lung cancer advocates across the state have creatively helped to raise awareness and more than $15,000 to fuel LCI’s mission.


Thank You to our Inaugural Giving Hope Society Members 

Launched this year, The Giving Hope Society recognizes the generosity and impact of individuals and families who are sustaining donors to the Lung Cancer Initiative.  Society members contribute a minimum of $1,000 annually in unrestricted cash gifts to the organization.  Donations can be in memory or in honor of a loved one, made toward a Lung Cancer Initiative event, or a special gift directed toward the Society.  The care and kindness of our Society members fuels critical research, education, awareness and access programs across the state. All members were honored during a VIP reception at the 2019 Evening of Hope Gala (pictured above).

Volunteer, Survivor, Caregiver of the Year

At the 2019 annual meeting, Lung Cancer Initiative honored three individuals who were nominated by fellow advocates, survivors and volunteers from across LCI.

Survivor of the Year - Jerry Walton 

Jerry has been a lung cancer advocate and volunteer of the Lung Cancer Initiative for more than five years and continues to set the standard for the enthusiastic way he spreads awareness and education about lung cancer with the public. 


Volunteer of the Year - Melanee Bennett 

Whether she’s representing Lung Cancer Initiative at Triad area exhibits throughout the year, arriving to set-up for the Greensboro LUNGe Forward race before the sun even rises or staying late in the evening to help the Greensboro committee plan logistics and send thank you notes, Melanee personifies constant dedication. 


Caregiver of the Year - Angela Nicholson 

Angela’s enthusiasm, loving energy and light inspire and warm the hearts of all of those she touches.  As her husband’s caregiver, Angela has used her journey as a source of inspiration to others and as a platform to advocate for the cause. 


Triangle Business Journal Corporate Philanthropy Award 

Lung Cancer Initiative was honored to be recognized as one of the Triangle Business Journal’s 2019 Corporate Philanthropy Award winners from among 70 other nominees from across the Triangle.  

GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency

Lung Cancer Initiative has earned a 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing metrics that highlight progress Lung Cancer Initiative is making toward its mission, the organization is helping donors move beyond simplistic ways of nonprofit evaluation such as overhead ratios.





Thank you to our Corporate Partner


GuideStar Gold Participant