By Natasha Brown

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (CBS) — The annual Lung Force Walk benefitting the American Lung Association will be taking place this weekend in Delaware, and for one woman and her family, it’s an extremely personal 2.1-mile journey. Her involvement has placed her at the top of the nation’s fundraising list for this event.

Christina Kalesse proudly displays her Lung Force Hero pin. She just as proudly shares with CBS3 the inspiration behind it.

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“This is why I’m driven,” Christina tells CBS3. “I’m driven for him and I wear this pin that says I’m a Lung Force Hero, but it was really my husband who was the lung force here, my hero.”

Christina’s husband, Rob, lost his battle with lung cancer in January 2020. His devastating diagnosis came just a year prior when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

“When he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019, we connected with the American Lung Association,” Christina said.

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Christina’s loss has led to a driving passion to continue her husband’s legacy of supporting the American Lung Association. She’s turned her tragedy into a triumphant fundraising effort that’s won her the title, top Lung Force Walk fundraiser in the nation for 2021.

“Over the past three years, I’ve raised close to $80,000 for the American Lung Association,” Christina said. “Social media is a wonderful tool for fundraising, but I also hold a golf tournament to raise money in honor of my husband.”

Golfing was her late husband Rob’s favorite pastime. Christina will be heading to Rehoboth Beach on Sunday for the annual Lung Force Walk, fueled by her husband’s presence and the drive to bring hope and compassion to those still in the fight of their lives.

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“I’m there with all of my friends and family so memories of Rob come up and I’m able to kind of feel his presence,” Christina said.  “There’s a lot of hope at those walks, those that are battling lung cancer and lung disease they can actually see there are survivors, there are people there fighting for them.”