Celebrating Impact at the 2023 Annual Update & Awards Celebration

On March 9, Lung Cancer Initiative hosted our “Let’s Create Hope: Annual Update and Awards Celebration” at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley. At this year’s event, eighty-four attendees celebrated lung cancer advocates from across the state for their remarkable contributions to the lung cancer community over the past year, reflected on the impact of important programs, and looked forward to goals for 2023.

This year’s awards were presented to seven individuals that showed great dedication and passion in making a difference in the community around them. Our recipients all come from different backgrounds and communities across NC, and embody the core values of Lung Cancer Initiative. We are pleased to introduce this year’s recipients below.

2022 Advocates of the Year

Elizabeth Hess, 2022 Healthcare Professional of the Year

Elizabeth Hess is a nurse navigator at Atrium Health – Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte and utilizes this role to help support her patients by connecting them to LCI. She continues making an impact in the community through her engagement in the Charlotte LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk and Celebration committee and dedication to her patients.

Krista Carlson, 2022 Caregiver of the Year

In June of 2022, Krista Carlson’s husband, Adam Carlson, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to his spine. Krista has taken on the roles of a caregiver, nurse, doctor, and assumed roles of their household. Krista has a sincere interest in spreading awareness about lung cancer. Krista’s heart and soul have truly become the embodiment of the core values of LCI.

Elissa Doty, 2022 Survivor of the Year

Elissa Doty has defied many odds to survive advanced lung cancer and has devoted much of her time to supporting lung cancer research and awareness. Last year, she was the top fundraiser for the Triangle LUNGe Forward. Her strong participation and engagement in events like the Gala and Year End campaigns has helped raise significant funding for LCI. Click here to learn more about how her story inspires and gives hope to individuals to persevere, survive, and even thrive with lung cancer.

Chad Helton, 2022 Volunteer of the Year

Chad Helton embodies LCI’s core values of supporting survivorship and strengthening the build of community. He truly cares for everyone he meets, and his kind and collaborative approach to working with others naturally inspires people to want to support the lung cancer community through events like the UNC Football Awareness event last fall.

Judy Noble, 2022 Committee Member of the Year

Judy works a full-time job and leads a busy life, yet she makes time to support LCI and fellow survivors because of her strong determination to make a difference in individuals. Judy joined the Evening of Hope Gala and the Triangle LUNGe Forward planning committees where she has been a mentor and a supporter of many newly diagnosed with lung cancer.

Casey Delahunt, 2022 Junior Volunteer of the Year

Casey is a compassionate student who keeps her aunt’s memory alive through her joyful support towards lung cancer survivors.  Casey has supported the Charlotte LUNGe Forward event by helping to lead the Survivor, Friends, & Family Tent in honor of our survivors, in memory of those we have lost to lung cancer and for her aunt, Kelly. 

Emily Parks, 2022 Leadership Award

Emily Parks was recognized for her outstanding leadership and incredible impact as the chair of the Triad LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk & Celebration for 13 years. After losing her father to lung cancer, Emily became a passionate advocate seeking to raise awareness and further education about the disease through her work at Lung Cancer Initiative. Emily continues to advance LCI’s mission as the Board Secretary on LCI’s Board of Directors and as the new chair of LCI’s Marketing Committee.

Congratulations to our winners, we thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for Lung Cancer Initiative.

This year’s annual meeting highlighted the importance of partnership.  Our friends from All-In were on-hand to share their mission and why they support area cancer nonprofits.  In addition, we celebrated a collaboration between LCI, the American Lung Cancer Screening Initiative, the White Ribbon Project, the Chris Draft Family Foundation, UNC Health and AstraZeneca to raise awareness about lung cancer at a UNC Football game. Checkout video highlights to learn more.