Lung Cancer Awareness and Research - Living For Liz, Our Impact

Our Impact

Each year, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined yet receives the least amount of research funding of all major cancers.  We vow to do our due diligence in making sure you will be proud of where your money goes when donating to our case.  And we hope that you are as excited as we are about the impact that we are starting to make.


L4L Funded Research


1 Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Research- Addario Lung Cancer Medial Institute. Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Research and is a part of the Addario Lung Cancer Medial Institute (ALCMI- pronounced ‘alchemy’).  One thing that we noticed when we started Living For Liz is that the lung cancer community seemed to notice a rise in the occurrence of lung cancer in young patients.  Another thing that we noticed was that there wasn’t any research trying to determine why that was happening.  The Young Lung project (happening both in the US and Europe) is trying to lay the groundwork to figure that out.  For more information, click here.


2 Dr. Paraic Kenny and The Kabara Cancer Research Institute’s IonTorrent S5 Genome Sequencing Instrumentation

Gunderson Health System’s Kabara Cancer Research Institute has a strong focus on lung cancer research and on implementing the next generation of diagnostic tests that will match lung cancer patients with the newest targeted therapies directed at particular mutations in their tumor.

With support from Living for Liz and other local organizations, Dr. Paraic Kenny’s research group has acquired the very latest IonTorrent S5 genome sequencing instrumentation which will allow him to analyze the cancer-causing mutations found in tumors. In many cases, knowing the precise mutations present in a tumor provides a good prediction about which of the newer targeted agents might be effective for a patient. In its initial implementation, the instrument can sequence a total of 50 genes per sample, including many which play roles in lung cancer (e.g. EGFR, KRAS, ALK, BRAF, and MET). The sequencer’s first test run was in September 2016 and included three lung cancer specimens. Mutations were found in each case. Dr. Kenny is very excited to be involved in bring these new diagnostic approaches to La Crosse, WI.

Dr. Sunny Guin’s research group is focused on targeting important metabolic processes such as glycogen breakdown, which are important for lung cancer progression, as potential therapeutic strategy for treatment of lung cancer patients in the future. He is also developing techniques to culture lung cancer cells directly from patients’ surgical specimens. This will allow him to evaluate new treatment options in these patient samples.  For more information click here.


Year in Review


  • Donated $10,000.00 to Gundersen Health Systems to aid in the purchase of a Gene Sequencer — an epic advancement in detection for gene targeted therapy to fight cancer.
  • Awarded a $1,108.00 Grant to the YMCA Live Strong Program for rehab stairs benefitting the Lung Cancer Survivorship Program
  • Donated $2,500.00 to both Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health Systems ($5,000.00 total) for gas cards as part of L4L’s Lung Cancer Patience Assistance Program

OUR IMPACT- 2014 & 2015

  • Donated $7,000.00 to Dr. Shelley to help further his efforts in exploring the implications of the CD43 molecule in the fight against lung cancer.
  • Donated $10,000.00 to Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Research and is a part of the Addario Lung Cancer Medial Institute (ALCMI- pronounced ‘alchemy’).
  • Expanded our Patient Services Program
  • Co-sponsored the Shine-A-Light Vigil with Gundersen Health System.


  • Donated $12,000 to Gundersen Health System to help fund Dr. Simon Shelley’s lung cancer research.
  • Donated $5,000 to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to help fund Dr. Ping Yang’s lung cancer research
  • Donated $3,500 to Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse and $3,500 to Gundersen Health System to be used for fuel cards for lung cancer patients
  • Funded a Health Expo and co-sponsored the Shine-A-Light Vigil with Gundersen Health System.
  • Accepted a check from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, who honor one or two groups every year that not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.


Success Stories

1 Maggie Smith

“As Nate and I talked with the pulmonologist and the surgeon, we mentioned that we appreciated the expediency in getting us our scan and biopsy results. We also mentioned Liz, and Living for Liz, and that she’d been on our minds all week. To our surprise, both physicians said that Liz had been on their minds as well. Both had worked with her and knew her story. They told us that as my case was being discussed, that they were thinking about her. I believe her story and her legacy made a difference in my diagnosis, in the speed we received results and in the interactions we had with staff….”  CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

Living For Liz