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Lung Cancer Alliance Advocate Wins Golf Digest Contest

Survivor to Play U.S. Open Course in Celebrity Foursome

WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lung Cancer Alliance-Nebraska (LCA-NE) Advocate and stage IV lung cancer survivor, John Atkinson has won the Golf Digest U.S. Open Contest. John was one of five finalists selected from over 56,000 entries.

He will try to break 100 at Torrey Pines, the same course played by the pros for this year's U.S. Open. Atkinson will compete in a foursome that includes NBC Today Show host, Matt Lauer, Dallas Cowboy's quarterback, Tony Romo and recording artist and former member of N'Sync, Justin Timberlake.

Atkinson, a never smoker, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer a little over a year ago at the age of 38. "If I can beat America's deadliest cancer then I can definitely break 100," he said. "It is going to be a great day, an emotional day, and I can't wait. I've got a great chance!"

Lung cancer is the nation's leading cancer killer, taking more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers--combined. Over 60% of those diagnosed with lung cancer are former smokers, having quit decades ago, or never smoked at all.

"John is an inspiration to all lung cancer survivors," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO. "By showing the true face of the disease, he will help bring about the compassion and support so needed for this community."

Atkinson's passion for golf compelled him to enter the contest in January, writing a 100 word essay describing why he could break 100 at Torrey Pines. Once being chosen as a finalist, he received over 48,000 of the 117,000 votes cast in the first U.S. Open Contest, conducted by Golf Digest, the United States Golf Association and NBC Sports.

"The game of golf to me is living," said Atkinson. "I am going out there to enjoy the golf course, to play a great round and to give hope to those who are faced with life threatening illnesses."

A one-hour broadcast of Golf Digest's U.S. Open Challenge will air on NBC Sports on Sunday June 15, from 2 to 3 p.m. (EDT), in the hour leading into NBC's broadcast of the final round.

Lung Cancer Alliance ( is the only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. LCA is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.


Kay Cofrancesco


SOURCE Lung Cancer Alliance
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