August 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I want to start by humbly thanking all who have registered, donated or sponsored the August 14th ABOH Lung Run/Walk Twin Cities. With nearly 1000 registrants and ten days to go, we are well on our way to another successful and fun gathering in the name of improved lung cancer outcomes! As you know, our work depends on your generosity and support. You are the real heroes. If you have questions or trouble registering, feel free to call us at 952-807-3419. More about the event here.

Are you in need of some inspiration today?

I am proud to announce the formation of the first ABOH Young Leaders Board (YLB), which will be led this first year by YLB Board Chair, Mitch Brown. Mitch lost his father (who had no risk factors) to lung cancer last year. The YLB represents the start of a movement at ABOH to actively include and involve young adults in our work. While the YLB will be a board of just 10-12 people, our hope is that their work in lung cancer will create a space for hundreds, if not thousands, of young people to change the trajectory of lung cancer. We seek young adults who want to attend future events, work on future projects and/or fill the last few board seats. These young adults are people who wish to:

• Correct the myths around lung cancer through awareness events and social media;

• Get involved with the work and legislation that will result in more Americans screened for more early stage diagnoses;

• Gather and support those who grieve because of lung cancer, especially young adults;

• Help ABOH reach its fundraising goals in support of the research that leads to new life-saving therapies; and

• Have fun and meet other cool people who are willing to step up to create change.

The first gathering of this growing group of young adults is in the YLB tent at the ABOH Lung Run/Walk Twin Cities – make sure and stop by, especially if you fall in their target age range of 18 to 30!

Drop us an email if you’d like to learn more about the YLB.

With you in the battle to end lung cancer mortalities!


Nancy Torrison
Executive Director

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July 2021 Newsletter

Minnesota’s lung cancer event is back, and we can’t wait to see you!

Join us Saturday, August 14th at Minneapolis’ beautiful Lake Harriet Band Shell for the 15th annual A Breath of Hope Lung Run/Walk Twin Cities! You can expect our collectible t-shirts naming your loved ones, food trucks, live music from the Leon Laudenbach Band, a survivor bus ride for those who can’t walk or run the 5K, a research report that will excite you and most importantly, the Rose Raft of Remembrance ceremony, and time with our wonderful community of more than 2000 people that are committed to ending lung cancer mortalities.

Start your team today!

New Module: Biomarker Testing and Targeted Therapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Discover the critical importance of comprehensive biomarker testing and targeted therapy for NSCLC in this new animated patient education module on!

The new module provides answers to common questions to help you start important conversations with your doctor about your NSCLC diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Watch our new biomarker testing and targeted therapy animations here:

•Understanding Biomarker Testing in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
•Targeted Therapy in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
•Lung cancer resources, such as expert videos

We are committed to providing lung cancer patients, family members, and caregivers with free educational materials and resources. Explore and download free educational infographics here: Download Now.

5 Easy Ways to Support the Fight

With your help, we have already made an impact this year. The generous gifts of our supporters in the first half of 2021 have advanced our mission after a most difficult year. Thank you for believing in our work. We invite you to support the fight this summer. Here are five easy (and much appreciated) ways you can support our summer fundraising effort. All gifts, no matter the size, count and make a difference!

1. Donate online – or, find your checkbook and send a donation to ABOH, P.O. Box 387, Wayzata, MN 55391.

2. Become a Sustaining Friend and offer a steady giving presence in support of programs for survivors and caregivers. From rides to treatment, to companionship, to support groups, this group of donors keeps our support services up and running for those living with lung cancer. Starting at $10.00/month, every sustaining gift matters!

3. Create or support a team at the Lung Run/Walk on August 14 at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.

4. Select A Breath of Hope when you shop at – Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

5. Have some fun and create a Facebook Fundraiser to support the cause.


We sincerely thank the following sponsors that made the 9th Annual Golf Classic a great success!

Mary & William Zimmer Foundation

Michelle & Bruce Kato – J.K. Medical Consulting Services
The Lockman Family Foundation
M Carlson Painting

Anne & Mark Bacigalupo
Edward Egan
The Haagenson Team – RE/MAX Results
Ideal Credit Union
The Kinney Family Foundation
Steve & Kelly Link
Parr McKnight Wealth Management
Al & Ellen Van Ravenswaay
Mark Bacigalupo – UBS

Tom Asenbrenner
Jim Engel
Nancy & Jerry Torrison

Curt Anderson
Jim Eichten – MMKR Certified Public Accountants
Shirley Kern
Harvey Weiss – United Financial Freedom

And . . . we extend a special thank you to Marketing Incentive Resources and all of the Rest & Relaxation silent auction donors for supporting the event and making it fun for all who participated!

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June 2021 Newsletter

Our heartfelt thanks…

As always, we fundraise for the future of lung cancer patients with the hope that one day, the survival rate will be 100%.

Thank you to all who donated this spring to meet our matching grant of $50,000! Along with this generous grant from an anonymous survivor, each and every gift makes a difference. You are heroes to all who cope with lung cancer in their families.

A Breath of Hope makes it a priority to reach over 1,000,000 people each year with lung cancer education that can lead to earlier diagnoses. Knowing that early detection is the quickest path to saving lives, this spring challenge was focused on finding lung cancer earlier through research, public education, and projects focused on increasing the number of Americans receiving low-dose CT scans.


“My family and I are so passionate about our mission at A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation. This terrible disease impacted our family by taking our dear mom who still had so much life left to live. We also see it impacting many others, like our good friend Gary Brausen and a growing number of young women. We have great momentum at ABOH, fantastic leadership, a dedicated board and staff, and many volunteers and supporters all focused on the same goal – to beat this disease with research, early detection and support of patients and families.

I was honored to kick off this exciting year-end challenge campaign by donating $5,000 on behalf of our mother and dear friend, Gary Brausen.”

– Mary Zimmer, ABOH Supporter

A note from the ABOH Team: Mary is also a member of the 2021 Circle of Light (COL), an exclusive and transformative group of leaders who pledge or donate $500 or more each year and receive invitations to special events called Doc Spots.

Learn more about the Circle of Light or JOIN NOW! Our first COL Doc Spot is July 29th on Lake Minnetonka – catered dinner and sunset cruise – hope you can join us!


“My family and I are so passionate about our mission at A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation. This terrible disease impacted our family by taking our dear mom who still had so much life left to live. We also see it impacting many others, like our good friend Gary Brausen and a growing number of young women. We have great momentum at ABOH, fantastic leadership, a dedicated board and staff, and many volunteers and supporters all focused on the same goal – to beat this disease with research, early detection and support of patients and families.

I was honored to kick off this exciting year-end challenge campaign by donating $5,000 on behalf of our mother and dear friend, Gary Brausen.”

– Mary Zimmer, ABOH Supporter

A note from the ABOH Team: Mary is also a member of the 2021 Circle of Light (COL), an exclusive and transformative group of leaders who pledge or donate $500 or more each year and receive invitations to special events called Doc Spots.

Learn more about the Circle of Light or JOIN NOW! Our first COL Doc Spot is July 29th on Lake Minnetonka – catered dinner and sunset cruise – hope you can join us!

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April Newsletter 2021



Facing the facts – Pink & White

A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) recently announced its $100K in 100 Days Spring Campaign focused on finding lung cancer earlier. We are grateful for a $50,000 matching gift from a generous stage 4 lung cancer survivor who well knows what it is like to get a stage 4 cancer diagnosis with no warning. Knowing that 70% of lung cancers are diagnosed in stage 3 or 4, ABOH keeps its focus on early detection hoping that one day, we will educate and screen everyone toward a much-needed improvement in the five-year survival rate of around 20%.In November, we will celebrate Nat’l Lung Cancer Awareness Month and promote the white ribbon. We will have just left a pink-ribbon covered world. From sports teams to coffee houses to major businesses, the world will turn pink in October in support of research and awareness for breast cancer and its easy-to-access screening tool – the mammogram. It has been an amazing forty years for the breast cancer field and survival rates are now over 90%. We are deeply grateful for the endless awareness and science that contributed to annual mammograms that find most breast cancers early when it is easier to treat. But, the simple fact is: LUNG CANCER KILLS NEARLY TWICE AS MANY WOMEN AS BREAST CANCER EACH YEAR, and the world will not turn white with ribbons in November. Even with recent USPSTF guideline changes that allow people to receive annual low-dose CT scans at a lower age (50) and with less smoking history (20 packs), the vast majority of people who will get lung cancer in the next few years will not be eligible for preventative annual screening. We are making progress in this field, but early detection of lung cancer remains a significant challenge for our country, especially for nonsmokers. As a reminder, nearly 60% of people diagnosed with lung cancer each year are former or never-smokers. Thanks for sticking with us as we focus on research that supports the discovery of improved methods and tests for detecting lung cancer earlier, awareness of the symptoms and causes of lung cancer that lead to undelayed scans, and our patient transportation program that will soon be providing rides to screening, as well as medical appointments and treatment. Visit our Patient & Family Support page to learn more about our rides program.

A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation
April 5, 2021

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A Win for Early Detection!


A Win for Early Detection

We are honored to announce that A Breath of Hope’s Research Fellow, Dr. James Tsay of NYU, was recently published in Cancer Discovery – one of the highest impact papers in cancer research. Dr. Tsay’s peers around the country are calling his work, “a breakthrough in the early detection of lung cancer.” Read article here.

The published study by Dr. Tsay’s lab built on the research that was funded by the Breath of Hope Foundation in 2016 and 2017. Previously, Dr. Tsay’s team was able to detect a difference in the composition of the lung microbe in patients with and without lung cancer. In this new study, they went further to see if the specific composition of the lung microbe correlates with a patient’s prognosis and treatment response. They were able to show that having oral microbes in the lung seems to correlate with poor prognosis and worse tumor progression. In a parallel animal model, introduction of these oral bacteria into the lungs of mice also seems to show decreased survival, increased tumor burden and increased inflammation.

The team and all of us at A Breath of Hope are very excited about these findings. We hope they will be able to use this knowledge to further our understanding of microbes and lung cancer. The ultimate goal is to use this information to diagnosis lung cancer earlier and in addition, help improve the treatment response in those who are undergoing treatment for lung cancer.

Dr. Tsay said, “The research award from A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation has made a huge difference in my career and has allowed us to continue our work in this field. I am grateful.”

Thank you, ABOH donors. Together, we are impacting the field and saving lives!

Don’t Forget: We’re Here to Help!

A diagnosis of lung cancer is a life-altering event. It may leave you feeling overwhelmed, scared, stressed, or anxious. Lung cancer is associated with high levels of depression and anxiety among cancer groups. In studies, patients report a broad range of psychosocial consequences, such as frustration due to physical limitations, fear of recurrence, sadness of leaving behind a partner and children, and disappointing social support, which we call: STIGMA.

A Breath of Hope collaborates in the national lung cancer space to help change the stigma that adds addition burden and pain. But we also offer services that can reduce stress which in turn, can lead to a better quality of life and improved health outcomes. Visit our website or email us at to learn more about the following:

  • Rides to treatment and medical appointments (reopening in Minnesota late March; opening in SW Florida this fall)
  • Companionship visits with someone who understands the cancer journey (currently available for U.S. lung cancer survivors by zoom or phone)
  • Patient education classes offered monthly on topics that are important to survivors
  • Survivor support groups offered monthly and focused on topics chosen by survivors
  • free load of groceries, currently being offered to lung cancer survivors in the Twin Cities, MN
  • Patient education online program (currently available in English and Spanish globally)

Join Our Spring Challenge

It is hard to believe that we have endured Covid-19 for a full year. Our nation now welcomes spring, a season of growth and renewal, with open arms.

A Breath of Hope is grateful (beyond words) for the support we received last year and are energized by upcoming opportunities in research, public education, and expanded services in 2021. We thank you for making our work possible!

We also acknowledge the challenges that continue – a pandemic that is especially difficult for individuals living with lung cancer, barriers to screening and early detection, and the persistent stigma associated with this disease. Above all, we grieve the dear friends we have lost.

But – we will not give up the fight! A Breath of Hope knows that catching lung cancer early is the best way to beat it. We invite you to join our 100 Day Spring Challenge kicking off on March 15th. Our goal is to raise $100K in 100 days to support early detection. Watch for our campaign kick-off by email, mail and on social media later this month!

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Minnesota’s Giving Day – support lung cancer research!


Happy Give to the Max Day, Minnesotans!

Usually, at this time of year, A Breath of Hope staff and volunteers are hard at work pulling together fundraising events to help lung cancer survivors live longer and live better.

But this year, because of the pandemic, A Breath of Hope has made some tough decisions — to either transition many of our beloved events to online or to postpone them until 2021-2022. These changes have come with disappointment. We miss our community, but more importantly, our revenue has dropped. While we are doing OK, our programs cannot run at full capacity without financial support from the people who care about our mission. This pandemic has left a 30% gap in annual fundraising for A Breath of Hope’s research, education, and patient service programs.

Today, during the biggest annual giving day in Minnesota, you can support and bring hope to Minnesota families by making a donation to A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation. Your gift of $25, $50, $100, or any amount can drive real change and continue the good work that has been improving the lung cancer survival rate in our state and country.

We are stronger together – thank you for your support!

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A Breath of Hope’s Fantastic Fall Events


Now more than ever, it’s important to connect as a community and support those hurt by lung cancerJoin A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation at one of our virtual lung cancer awareness month events.

Midwest Lung Cancer Patient Summit
Studies show better health outcomes for cancer patients who are well-informed and educated about the disease they live with.

A Breath of Hope is committed to bringing new information and ongoing education to our lung cancer community, and especially to our survivors. Join others who share your journey and learn from some of the top lung cancer experts in the world at the A Breath of Hope Virtual Midwest Lung Cancer Summit Saturday, November 7 – registration is now open!

Complete Schedule of Events | Register

Virtual Shining Bright Gala
Join us FridayNovember 13th for a funfilled and impactful evening in our shared quest to save lives! To protect our lung cancer community, this year’s Shining Bright Gala will be held virtuallybut the fun and the mission remain vibrant and critical.

From incredible auction items to magic and comedy to wine and chocolates delivered to your home, this event will be a night to remember. General admission tickets are free, but you must be registered to participate or bid on auction items. Learn more below.

Event and Sponsor Info | Register

Thank you LCAM Event Sponsors!
Mary & Bill Zimmer
Mary Jane Benjamin
Karst & VonOiste
Minnesota Oncology

During these unprecedented times, we are so grateful for your continued support and can’t wait to ‘see’ you at our fabulous fall events. Can’t attend but want to show support? Contact Nancy about sponsorship packages or donate below.

Wishing you a healthy and happy fall!

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Florida 5K Registration Now Open!

SW Florida Run/Walk - Mark Your Calendar: Feb 29, 2020


A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) returns to SW Florida with its ABOH Lung Run/Walk Leap Day – 2/29/20, a well-loved 5K for anyone who wants to be part of the solution to the world’s deadliest cancer! You don’t want to miss this fun opportunity to LEAP ahead in the fight to end lung cancer!
New this year – ABOH will announce the first-of-its-kind SW Florida Ambassador Program, serving lung cancer patients with rides to treatment, companionship during the journey and education that could lead to improved health outcomes. ABOH SW Florida office opens this spring!
Join us on LEAP DAY to create needed change and bring hope to lung cancer patients.
Mark your calendar for these important dates so you don’t miss out:
  • Saturday, February 29, 2020 is the big day! Register today to run or walk in the 4th annual A Breath of Hope Lung Run/Walk SW Florida.
  • Register by Monday, February 3 at Noon CST to be entered in a drawing for one of five $20 gift cards at local restaurants.
  • Learn about volunteering at the event by emailing Thank you in advance for helping make this event a success!
  • Remember or honor loved ones diagnosed with lung cancer when you register by Noon CST Thursday, February 13. Names submitted by this date will be added to our collectible t-shirts. Names can be entered in the tribute portion of registration, or by emailing
  • The fun details: 5K walk/run, music, snacks, kids’ activities, prizes for top fundraisers, oncology updates, resources for lung cancer patients and families, a ceremony to remember your loved ones and fellowship with a community that understands.
What are you waiting for? Register today to join the ABOH SW Florida community and beat lung cancer!

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A Breath of Hopeful News


2020 is coming to an end, and we’re OK with that. We wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2021!

In this challenging year, we lost many friends to lung cancer and we grieve with our families. Despite the pandemic and thanks to your generous spirit and financial support, we continue to provide hope and services for survivors, caregivers, and families impacted by this disease. You, our faithful supporters, have touched the lives of many survivors, including Rachael and Harper below. (Photo Credit: Stephijean Photography).

Rachael was just 31 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2017. Her initial reaction was pure shock. As a former collegiate and Olympic-level hockey player, she not only continued to exercise, but she ran several miles each day, never smoked, and ate a healthy diet.

It took Rachael 16 months to get a diagnosis after seeing several specialists for pain in her ribs and back. Rachael remembers feeling less afraid once she had an answer and she became determined to do whatever she could to beat it. At that time, she had a four-year-old daughter. The deep sadness she felt at not being there for Harper as she grew up gave Rachael the strength to undergo surgery, receive radiation to her brain and spine, and continue treating her cancer aggressively. Today, Rachael continues to take her first line of treatment, a targeted therapy, and she monitors her health very closely with her medical team.

You will be moved by Rachael’s personal comments at the Shining Bright Gala held virtually November 13th. We also took a few moments to remember loved ones lost to lung cancer. If you missed the gala, you can still WATCH the program: 2020 Shining Bright Gala Virtual Program

Thank you for supporting the lung cancer community. We hope we can count on you again this year. Your donation will ensure A Breath of Hope starts strong in 2021 as we strive to improve survival rates through cutting-edge research, improved access to screening, patient education, and supportive services that lessen the burden for those most impacted.

We invite you to support our goal of raising $50,000 by December 31st. There are three easy ways to support our mission and save lives.

  • Donate online by clicking the button below
  • Send a check to A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation at: P.O. Box 387, Wayzata, MN  55391
  • Call 952-807-6111 to make a gift of stock or to discuss other giving options

Every step we take as a community and ‘family’ is a breath of hope for all who have been hurt by lung cancer. Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to fight America’s deadliest cancer.

ABOH Hosts 2021 Minnesota Screening Meeting

With our shared goal of increasing the number of Minnesotans screened for lung cancer for reduced mortalities, it is our honor to host Minnesota’s healthcare professionals virtually January 22nd, 2021.

From primary care to pulmonology to radiology to oncology and thoracic surgery, each of us can benefit from working with and learning from our peers across the state. We look forward to improving a dismal 20% five-year lung cancer survival rate by overcoming the many barriers to screening.

Meeting Itinerary:

  • 8:00 – 8:30 AM Welcome and Opening remarks – Abbie Begnaud, MD, University of Minnesota and David E. Midthun, MD, Mayo Clinic
  • 8:30 – 9:30 AM The Benefits of CT Lung Cancer Screening in ANY System; USPSTF Updated Guidelines & Evidence – Andrea McKee, MD, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts
  • 9:30 – 10:30 AM Lung Cancer Screening in the Urban Setting – Mary M. Pasquinelli, APRN, FNP-BC, Unversity of Illinois Health, Chicago, Illinois
  • 10:30 – 11:30 AM Lung Cancer Screening in the Rural Setting – Jed A. Gorden, MD, Swedish Medical Center, Cherry Hill Campus, Seattle, Washington
  • 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Primary Care and the Low-Dose CT Scan, plus Intro to Online Screening Course (w/CME Credit Instructions) – Celeste T. Worth, MCHES, Director, LuCa National Training Network, University of Louisville
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM Small group chat rooms on any topic related to lung cancer – 15 or less per room

Minnesota Healthcare Providers:

There is no cost to attend this meeting. Please email us for a registration link and include your title and the healthcare system you work for.

If your healthcare organization is interested in learning about meeting sponsorships, please drop us an email.

Happy Holidays from all of us at ABOH!

A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined that today we would find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic with our lives and livelihoods completely altered. In saying this, we acknowledge the many losses of 2020 – physical connections, routines, work, gathering for worship, shared meals, and the loss of loved ones that will forever change our lives. While we acknowledge and honor these hardships, we should also acknowledge the blessings and look for the silver linings this year.

At ABOHLF, through the steadfast leadership of our executive director Nancy Torrison, our staff, our volunteers, and our dedicated board of directors, we have worked hard to continue offering survivor services, funding research, and executing community events that we hope have made a difference for our families, patients, and survivors during this unprecedented time. Through your generous support, you allow us to walk with you in your lung cancer journey, and we are grateful.

On behalf of all of us at ABOHLF, we wish you happy holidays and a joyful new year!

Julie Opheim
ABOH Board of Directors Chair

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We need your help!


#GiveAtHomeMN May 1 – 8

GiveMN has launched a week-long giving campaign to help Minnesotans support their favorite charities during this critical time.

And the best part – they waived their fees! Thanks for considering a donation to A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation.

Your donation will directly benefit families hurt by lung cancer by:

  • Delivering a load of free groceries to the doorsteps of survivors who should not be out shopping;
  • Supporting those who live with lung cancer through online support groups and educational classes; and
  • Offering help to families grieving the loss of a loved one to lung cancer.

Please consider a donation to A Breath of Hope’s #GiveAtHomeMN COVID-19 relief effort here.

Golf Classic is ON and In-Person:

The 2020 A Breath of Hope Golf Classic presented by the Bill and Mary Zimmer Family Foundation is on a mission to beat lung cancer, even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lung cancer doesn’t stop, and neither should we.

Plan to join us for a socially distanced, but fun event in support of A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation’s research and patient support programs. We promise to keep you safe while you play your 18 holes at the beautiful Deer Run Golf Club in Victoria, Minnesota.

This year’s $200 golf registration includes:

  • Limited and staggered registrations and tee times for smart distancing
  • 18 holes of golf
  • Cart with GPS
  • Raffles, contests and prizes
  • Meals and a happy hour beverage
  • $100 charitable donation per registration


Interested in sponsoring a hole? Email us to learn more.

National Day-of-Giving May 5

A Breath of Hope is celebrating #GivingTuesdayNow, a new global day of giving and unity taking place on May 5th in emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

Please help us raise awareness about lung cancer, increase funding for life-saving research and support patients and families by participating in or sharing A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation’s #GivingTuesdayNow COVID-19 relief effort here.


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