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Dana Reeve's Nephew Champions Aunt's Legacy

Representing the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation's New Generation of Crusaders, James Lichtenthal Traveled to New York City on March 5, 2009 for the American Cancer Society's Awareness Day

SAN FRANSISCO, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last Thursday, three years almost to the date of his aunt Dana Reeve's untimely death from Lung Cancer, James Lichtenthal, 18, boarded a 5:30 a.m. plane to New York City from Boston, carrying with him expectations of hope and change to more than 200 high school students and guests gathered at a rally to raise awareness for all cancers held at Fiorello LaGuardia High School.

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The Weston, MA, high school senior was on a mission. Carrying the Foundation's t-shirts, thermals and buttons with the message to stomp out Lung Cancer, he arrived at the performing arts high school near Lincoln Center, and quickly set up his booth. Within seconds, it was swarmed by more than 200 high school students - who quickly donned the attire and adorned themselves with the buttons: "What kills more women than breast cancer? Lung Cancer!" and "Lung Cancer/Breast Cancer: Girls Just Wanna Have None."

An honorary board member for the Foundation, (his mother, Deborah Morosini, MD, Dana Reeve's sister, is on the executive board), James eagerly raised his hand to represent the Foundation at this all-day cancer awareness event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. BJALCF was invited to participate in this event because the American Cancer Society's representative, Myrna E. Duarte, saw the outdoor ad campaign at the station in Times Square. "It would be wonderful to have the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation represented at our event," said Myrna.

Joining forces and collaborating to eradicate Lung Cancer is one of Bonnie J. Addario's many goals. And this campaign is getting press, as seen in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Ad Campaign Goal to Raise Lung Cancer Awareness" ( and heard recently on "Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer" on Sirius Radio. Thank you Alexis and Jennifer!

The ultimate message, Bonnie's own, in the ad campaign features the Statue of Liberty photographed from behind with the headline, "She wouldn't turn her back on 160,000 people. Neither would we."

"When I saw the statistics for Lung Cancer during my recovery, that over 450 people in the United States die every day, I was astonished. In the world, it's 1.3 million annually. That's like a plane dropping out of the sky daily," says Bonnie Addario. "I questioned why there was so little being done about it. It's time to change that."

James went to speak about the terrible tragedy of his aunt's death, how it affected his/her family and indeed the world, and also about the tragedy of the under-served attention paid to Lung Cancer research and treatment today.

Here, is his experience in his own words:

"When I arrived I was slightly overwhelmed by the massive size of the school and the many number of students that were coming in and out, but my mission drove me," says James. "I spread out the BJALCF giveaways across the empty table beside mine. Three students asked if the t-shirts were free and before I could respond 'yes' students swarmed the table, taking thermals and t-shirts and wearing them proudly. The box of about 40 shirts and thermals was cleared out in less then three minutes.

"Once cleared, I began handing out buttons to passing students, luring them by saying 'Hey can I give you a button?' When a student would come over I would ask 'What do you know about Lung Cancer?' Most of the time they would respond that they knew little to nothing. Some of the time they would tell me that only smokers get Lung Cancer. I would quickly clear up this notion by telling them that 60 percent of the people that get Lung Cancer have either never smoked or quit decades ago. I told all the students that the best way they can help is by spreading the word that Lung Cancer is the Number One cancer killer with the lowest and most unchanged survival rate, and that it is still the most underfunded cancer due to mostly untrue stigma attached to the disease, and that you can't control whether you get Lung Cancer or not by smoking, or not," says James.

Then, James said he handed out buttons to every passerby, trying to get as many e-mails as he could for the mailing list so they could receive further information.

"My goal at this event was to inform as many people as I possibly could about how Lung Cancer's lack of funding and attention is unacceptable. My goal for the future is to continue spreading this message, and continue teaching my peers that Lung Cancer is not an unbeatable disease. The battle for better Lung Cancer research and funding can be won through advocacy and understanding."

James said the event "was extremely successful and I had an incredible time. I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to represent such a noble and intelligent foundation as the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, and would be more than happy to do similar events in the future. Thank you so much."

    Contact: Sheila Von Driska
    Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation

SOURCE Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
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