Valarie and David Winkleman
By Jill Smith | American Lung Assocation
Despite being active in the Lowcountry, Anna Holloway and Valarie Joy Winkleman have only recently met at the October LUNG FORCE Run/Walk hosted by the American Lung Association. Holloway and Winkleman have both been impacted by lung cancer, and while their paths have been different, they share the same passion and determination to do whatever they can to help end lung cancer and spread awareness about the disease.
In late 2020, Holloway, a healthy 40-year-old active mother who had just completed a She Tris (a women’s mini-triathlon) and lived a healthy lifestyle, was diagnosed with lung cancer. A nonsmoker, lung cancer wasn’t a disease Holloway had on her radar. “Without my doctors and nurses being so proactive and listening to my persistence, cancer would still be sitting in there just waiting. My passion now lies in research and advocacy – how does a 40-year-old have lung cancer? I also have a passion for supporting others in their cancer journey because I’ve had such a force surrounding me as my family and I tackled this diagnosis. Hopefully, my story encourages others to listen to their body, talk with their doctors, and seek out the support they need to tackle a cancer diagnosis,” shares Holloway.
Holloway has become an active volunteer for the American Lung Association in South Carolina. She gave an emotional testimony at this year’s Charleston Oxygen Ball and is part of the LUNG FORCE planning committee that oversees the 5K Run/Walk and other lung cancer awareness initiatives. To bring more activities to the family-friendly Run/Walk, held October 15 at Folly Beach, Holloway and other volunteers decided to incorporate family-friendly activities. Little did she know that lung cancer had also affected Valarie Winkleman, the face painter volunteering her time to help with the event.
Valarie and David Winkleman
After two tough years of battling lung cancer, Winkleman’s father, David Winkleman, took his last breath. “My dad was absolutely my biggest fan, and while we miss him dearly, I strive to honor him and his courageous journey,” shares Winkleman. Last month, Valarie, part of the Peachy Palette Face Painting sister-duo, painted faces at the Lung Association’s Run/Walk. “I felt led to support this cause as when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer he never gave up. I volunteered my time in honor of our father and to support those who are also advocating for loved ones. There is power in numbers, and together with the Lung Association we will stand strong for lung health,” said Valarie.
“Anyone can get lung cancer, and no one deserves the disease,” remarks Anna. While lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., there is hope. If lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the chance of surviving five years or more increases to over 60%. If you or a loved one smoked, take the lung cancer screening eligibility quiz at SavedByTheScan.org.”
“Please join me and Anna and with your help, we can connect Americans with the reality and urgency of lung cancer,” states Valarie.
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