2020 REACH Grant Recipients

Rebuilding Together of the Triangle – Radon Mitigation

The Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina (LCI) has awarded an Access Grant to Rebuilding Together of the Triangle (RTT). The $10,000 access grant will support RTT’s efforts to install radon mitigation systems in the homes of low-income homeowners in eastern Wake County, NC through December 31, 2020. 

Radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer in NC and across the US, is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is formed when uranium decays in the soil.  Radon is in geological formations throughout NC, and some homes in eastern Wake County are experiencing high levels. Partnered with the Wake County Government and the NC Department of Human Services (NC DHHS), RTT’s mitigation systems will work to reduce the level of radon in homes to improve household environments for families and individuals.

“We are so grateful for the investment of the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina and for the opportunity to support our neighbors in Wake County dealing with elevated levels of radon in their homes,” said Dan Sargent, executive director of RTT. “We are also thrilled to partner with Wake County and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, with whom we share a desire to improve the safety of homes for individuals and families in need across our community.”

Nearly one in 15 homes across the US is estimated to have elevated radon levels.  Each year, more than 22,000 people die from radon-induced lung cancer. Every home in NC is prone to having a level of radon gas, and the NC DHHS’ NC Radon Program recommends that all homes be tested. This includes apartments, mobile homes, homes with basements and homes without basements.

“The access grant program supports community partners in improving access for uninsured or underinsured individuals to lung cancer screening, treatment, clinical research, comprehensive biomarker testing and precision medicine,” said Jenni Danai, director of programs at Lung Cancer Initiative. “We’re pleased to award this grant to RTT to reduce radon exposure for households across Wake County and also hope to raise awareness about the importance of radon testing through this effort.”

Elon University – Falls Prevention in Lung Cancer Patients

Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) has awarded an Access Grant to the Department of Physical Therapy Education at Elon University for their project that will be focused on fall prevention in lung cancer patients. The $9,984 grant will evaluate the risk of falling in individuals with a history of lung cancer, and those at high risk of falling will be offered a virtual, home-based intervention designed to improve physical function, and balance, with the goal of reducing future risk of falling.

“Individuals with histories of pulmonary disease and cancer tend to be at an increased risk of falling. Such falls can have serious consequences, negatively affecting overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. Beth Evans, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Education at Elon. “This Access Grant will enable us to design and implement a novel approach of using interactive and guided fall risk screenings and interventions in a virtual environment, which will increase its accessibility to lung cancer survivors across the state of North Carolina.”

Dr. Evans and her team will offer free interactive fall risk screenings for individuals with a history of lung cancer and a free guided exercise intervention, designed to improve physical function and balance, which will also be provided to individuals who are determined to be at a higher risk for falling. This project will be delivered virtually, thus improving its accessibility to individuals across the state of North Carolina.

Individuals with a history of lung dysfunction and cancer tend to be at an increased risk of falling, and such falls can result in serious health consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “one out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.” Given the implications of a fall on a lung cancer survivor’s overall health, assessing and addressing fall risk in this population carries great importance.