Tobacco Control

It’s a simple yet staggering fact: tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. That’s why our tobacco efforts never cease and are demanded now more than ever. Your support helps us reduce youth smoking, fight for tobacco-free policies, and help smokers quit.

Tobacco 21: Protecting young people from a lifetime of addiction.

Led the effort for multiple municipalities within the Upper Midwest to pass the Tobacco 21 law, raising the minimum tobacco purchasing age to 21, including: Chicago, St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City (Kansas and Missouri), and Overland Park, Kansas.

Effective Advocacy: Fighting for common sense policies.

Supporting Quitters: Helping smokers make the decision to act.

Tobacco Use Disparity: Helping Smokers with Mental Illness, Substance Abuse

ART THERAPY TO HELP QUIT SMOKING  Named “Morning,” this art piece depicts coffee, pills, donuts, and tobacco. It’s part of an art gallery event that took place in Minnesota featuring artists with mental health and substance abuse disorders. The gallery incorporated tobacco into art presentations depicting the impact tobacco has on their lives. Art therapy is a strategy used to talk about tobacco and quitting.

Named “Morning,” this art piece depicts coffee, pills, donuts, and tobacco. It’s part of an art gallery event that took place in Minnesota featuring artists with mental health and substance abuse disorders. The gallery incorporated tobacco into art presentations depicting the impact tobacco has on their lives. Art therapy is a strategy used to talk about tobacco and quitting.



Clean Air

It’s unacceptable that almost half of the nation’s population is exposed to unhealthy levels of air. The Lung Association of the Upper Midwest continues to take action so that homes are free of radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer; to reduce the effect that old wood boilers and stoves have on reducing pollution; and to expand the use of alternative fuels that are significantly better for the environment.

Radon: Keeping families safe from a silent killer.

Retiring Wood Boilers, Stoves: A measurable impact on reducing pollution.

Alternative Fuels: Better for the environment and lungs.

Healthy Lungs

Almost half-a-million Americans die every year because of lung disease. What are we doing about it? Targeting our efforts from the research lab to the grassroots. The Upper Midwest invested more than $3 million in life-saving research. We partnered with community clinics to help improve the quality of care for kids with asthma; and we’re visiting homes to assess and improve living environments of asthmatic children.

Supporting Patients, Caregivers & Professionals

Camp Superkids: 50 Years, 7K Kids Being Kids

Helping Kids with Asthma: One Home at a Time

Partnering with Clinics: Improving Asthma Care

Building Blocks

14,000 Lung Association event participants across the Upper Midwest raised more than $5.4 million to help us save lives. How? By simply asking their friends, family and corporate partners to donate and support their stair climbing, running, walking, cycling, golfing, and (yes) even partying.

Fight for Air Climbs

For a second consecutive year, the Lung Associations in Wisconsin (#1) and Chicago (#2) are the most successful stair climbs in the country, raising more than $1 million collectively.

Upper Midwest Galas

oxygen-ballThe Lung Association in Minnesota hosted its inaugural Oxygen Ball with more than 250 guests that helped raise $140,000 in its first year.

Running, Cycling and Golfing


More than 40 buildings and landmarks illuminated turquoise across the Upper Midwest as part of Turquoise Takeover in May during National Women’s Lung Health Week.

Meet One of Our LUNG FORCE Heroes – Susan Warmerdam

Four and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had gone undetected for 5-7 years. I never smoked, so hearing that I had an inoperable and incurable disease brought a plethora of emotions hard to describe.

Despite the hopeless medical statistics, I was determined to do everything to fight my disease. I did extensive research, took every step to embrace wellness, completely changed my diet, and got the best medical care possible. I received treatment at Northwestern, which included two years on a daily targeted cancer treatment drug, one clinical trial, and three surgeries. I believe all of these things worked together to help me beat the number one cancer killer… I’ve been off all treatment for 2 ½ years!

The American Lung Association has given me a platform from which to advocate and fundraise. Together with my friends, family and colleagues, we have raised almost $220,000 and funded three lung cancer research studies to help find the causes, early detection and more personalized treatments for lung cancer.


Meet our American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest Researchers

Airway Clinical Research Center Researchers

Illinois Consortium
Chicago, Illinois
PI: Lewis Smith, MD 
Northwestern University
St. Vincent Health
Indianapolis, Indiana
PI: Michael Busk, MD
Washington University
PI: Mario Castro, MD
Washington University
University of Missouri
PI: Gary Salzman, MD
Kansas City School of Medicine

Basic, Clinical and Behavioral Researchers

Linda Resar, MD (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore)
Dr. Resar will address the urgent need for more effective lung cancer treatments by developing an innovative therapy called Spiegelmers. The therapy will disrupt the growth of lung cancer cells and improve therapy for lung cancer patients.
Eric Collisson
Eric Collisson, MD (University of California, San Francisco)
Dr. Collisson will use new therapies that use mutant cancer genes against the tumor’s own growth to attack lung cancer. These new therapies are expected to increase the effectiveness of personalized treatments and provide a better understanding of how mutations in a specific gene affect the formation and progression of lung cancer. Efforts at personalizing treatments currently help only one in five patients.
E Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD (Stanford University, Stanford)
Dr. Sweet-Cordero’s study may identify new approaches for lung cancer therapies by providing a better understanding of how tumor cells and normal cells communicate. The study will examine how that communication is activated in lung cancer as well as what changes occur in cells as a result of that activation.
Patrick Bellvitch
Patrick Belvitch, MD (University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago)
Dr. Belvitch is studying blood vessels in the lung that leak in a person with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. By understanding how specific proteins regulate the formation of gaps between cells that lead to the leakage, he hopes to develop treatments for this condition.
Tianji Chen, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Dr. Chen hopes to develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In her study, she will examine how a specific protein is regulated as well as the role that protein plays in the development of PAH.
Joseph Reynolds, PhD (Rosalind Franklin University, North Chicago)
Dr. Reynolds is studying the roll of specific proteins called cytokines in severe influenza infection. He will investigate whether these cytokines promote improved immune responses to influenza which can lead to new treatments for inflammation-based respiratory disorders.
Andrew Haak, PhD (Mayo Clinic)
Myofibroblasts cells are one of the core contributors to the cause of lung fibrosis disease. Dr. Haak will study how to activate specific cells that are known to block myofibroblasts in hopes of reducing their effect in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which remains a disease with limited therapeutic options.
Marc Sala, MD (Northwestern University-Chicago Campus)
Dr. Sala will research the role of a specific group of proteins in the development of pulmonary hypertension. A better understanding of the role played by this group of proteins may result in new drug options for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension.
Our Partnerships

$100,000 & Above




Inkind Corporate Gifts

Legacy Society
Giving Clubs

President’s Circle of Breath: Visionary

$25,000 & Above

President’s Circle of Breath: Ambassador

$10,000 – $24,999

President’s Circle of Breath: Founder

$5,000 – $9,999

Champions of Breath: Guardian

$5,000 & Above

Champions of Breath: Partner

$1,000 – $4,999

Champions of Breath: Friend

$500 – $999

Board of Directors
A Look Ahead

Thank you again for your time, your energy and your generous support in 2016 that which powered our efforts to save lives.

As we look ahead, we see that there is still much work to do, more lives to save and people to impact. So we ask for your continued commitment, involvement and support of our work. Why? Because lung cancer is still the number one cancer killer in the country and 34 million people still suffer from lung disease.

We look to grow and expand our work on lung health and clean air by increasing our investment in research; enhancing our programs; advocating for more smokefree and clean air policies; and strengthening our partnerships and creating new ones.

We made great strides this year, but we have work ahead and your support is critical to strengthen the American Lung Association and ultimately, save more lives!

Call 1-800-LUNG-USA or visit to stay informed, inspired and invested in our fight against lung disease and for lung health.