Lung cancer survivor says non-smokers can get it too

Lung cancer survivor says non-smokers can get it too

In a place Kimberly Buchmeier calls her safe haven, a special room inside her home, is a photo of her grandmother.

"That's her, she's right up there on my board," said Buchmeier. "It makes me want to cry because, because she suffered."

Her grandmother had lung cancer, something she fought for two years.

That whole time, though, Buchmeier had lung cancer too.

Her grandmother died. Buchmeier survived.

"Every day I think I'm so lucky," she said.

It started with a pain in her back and then many trips to the doctor.

Eventually, it was a diagnosis, but it wasn't just a physical and emotional battle for her. It was a social one too.

"I was embarrased by having lung cancer and mainly because the first question everybody asked me was 'Do you smoke?' and I didn't and it made me mad," said Buchmeier. "I never have."

According to the American Lung Association, one in every five people who die from lung cancer never actually smoked.

"All you need are lungs to get lung cancer," said Buchmeier.

Government statistics show 433 people die each and every day from lung cancer.

As a survivor, Buchmeier has worked to raise awareness.

"I was part of the life and breath rally, the first one on Capitol Hill," she said.

It's something she says she needs to do for her grandmother.

"I look at her and I see hope because I'm advocating for her," she said. "I can be her voice."

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