PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Boathouse Row will turn turquoise Monday night to raise awareness about lung cancer–the number one cancer killer.
It happens around the country as the American Lung Association’s “Lung Force Project” gets landmarks all over the country to turn turquoise.
This week is dedicated to women fighting lung cancer– as the rate of new lung cancer cases has almost doubled in women in the last 40 years.
“In loving memory of our beloved big sister,” reads a poster that Betsy Stratton keeps to remember her sister Hannah who died of lung cancer when she was just 56.
“I miss her, our whole family misses her every day,” said Stratton.
In memory of Hannah and all the others, Boathouse Row will be illuminated Monday night for the turquoise takeover commiserating women’s Lung Health Week.
“The focus is on women and lung cancer because for so long people really didn’t think about women getting lung cancer, it was more focused on men,” said Stratton.
While smoking is the leading cause, there have been a growing number of young women who develop lung cancer not related to smoking.
“It was so surprising because she’d been very healthy, very active, never smoked a cigarette in her life. It took probably six to seven months to get the diagnosis that it not a-typical, so by the time they diagnosed it the tumor had spread too far for them to operate,” said Stratton.
Betsy’s family, who pays for Boathouse Row to turn turquoise for the evening, thinks radon may have caused Hannah’s cancer.
The colorless odorless gas that builds up inside buildings is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
“Out in Chester County where we live, radon is very high,” said Stratton.
The turquoise takeover aims to raise awareness, so more people can be diagnosed early when lung cancer is more treatable and to get funding for research. Betsy hopes so other families can be spared.
“It was just hard on all of us, we just couldn’t believe it. The thing I thought was so wonderful she never got angry about it, she never got bitter,” said Stratton.
It’s estimated this year more than 10,000 people in just Pennsylvania will be diagnosed with lung cancer.
Nationally, across the United States every five minutes, a woman is told she has lung cancer.