Champion Spotlight: Lung cancer advocate - Linda Wortman
Linda Wortman says her life passion is to save lungs and lives. As a lung cancer survivor, she was compelled to start her own foundation to raise awareness and remove the stigma that lung cancer is only a smoker’s disease. The Wortman Lung Cancer Foundation organizes Running Lung races and other events throughout the U.S. to raise funds for lung cancer research and enhance education about lung health.
Wortman jumps at opportunities to educate and share her story. As a patient advocate on Capitol Hill, she’s given a voice to lung cancer patients and works to shape health care policies. Beyond sharing her story in person, Wortman is an active member on the patient-to-patient digital platform, Mayo Clinic Connect. She says she enjoys the open, honest conversations of those who understand some of the feelings that go along with a serious diagnosis.
Wortman was a healthy, active, never-smoker who was diagnosed with lung cancer. After surgery at Mayo Clinic to remove a tumor and most of her left lung, her long road to recovery began. Not being one to stay down for long, Linda not only recovered but is back to skiing and cycling.
"I can give other people hope, and, when you give other people hope, you give them an avenue to walk so they can have a great quality of life. And I think I’m that living example.” – Linda Wortman
Her story of recovery isn’t just how she survived after cancer but how she is thriving. Since her surgery, Wortman has been on a mission to prove there is quality of life after cancer. While never a runner before lung cancer, Wortman now has a passion for it. She has run a 5K race in every state since her recovery and is on her way to running a 10K on every continent. She has summited Mount Kilimanjaro to its 19,341-foot peak without the use of assisted oxygen.
Why does she push herself? She says, “I can give other people hope, and, when you give other people hope, you give them an avenue to walk so they can have a great quality of life. And I think I’m that living example.” Wortman sees the hope she gives others as a Mayo Clinic Champion and looks forward to continuing to make an impact with her work.