First-ever Lung Expo held in Milwaukee to inform about lung disease

MILWAUKEE -- Smoker or not, chances are you know someone with lung cancer. It's the leading cancer killer among men and women. In Milwaukee, there is a new effort to get people informed about all types of lung disease.

Lynnette Chadwick nearly died of a lung disease many don't know they have.

"I started not being able to carry the laundry up and down the stairs in my house, and I couldn`t shovel the snow because I just could not catch my breath," said Chadwick.

Chadwick had a lung transplant three years ago after being diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. It's a genetic disorder than often presents the same way as asthma, which means many patients are misdiagnosed.

"It was very hard to even walk to the bathroom from the living room without my oxygen," said Chadwick.

Now she has a booth at the American Lung Association's Lung Force Expo, encouraging people to get a simple blood test which will reveal if they have the gene. It's the first ever Lung Expo held in Milwaukee, a city with one of the highest asthma rates in the country.

"We have clinical trials available for these very very difficult patients," said Dr. Heidi Zafra, an allergist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Hundreds of doctors, caregivers and patients, coming together to learn about the latest research and medications available to treat all types of lung disease, including COPD, asthma and cancer.

"We hope that patients take away some hope and some excitement about managing their lung disease," said Katie Halverson, program coordinator at the American Lung Association.

These events are supposed to raise awareness about lung disease. A little known fact: lung cancer kills more people i a year than prostate cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer combined.

In Chadwick's case, friends have lost their lives to Alpha 1. But she's determined she survived to make a difference.

"It's truly a miracle," she said.

The American Lung Association is holding a Lung Force Walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo on October 4, 2015.

They are also holding Asthma Camp for kids ages 8-12 with asthma. Asthma Camp runs from June 22-26 at Bayview High School in Milwaukee.