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Team Miels for Miles at 2019 LUNG FORCE Walk – Captained by Melissa Elsinger. (Credit: American Lung Association)

Another fundraiser walk has moved online, but it remains just as important as ever.

The American Lung Association’s 2020 LUNG FORCE Walk, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, has gone virtual, spanning an entire week starting Monday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 27.

Eighty-eight cents of every dollar raised goes toward education, research and advocacy efforts for various lung-targeted diseases, such as lung cancer, asthma and even COVID-19.

Launched in April, through the $25M COVID-19 Action Initiative, the American Lung Association and corporate partners pledge to raise funds to prevent future pandemics and find a cure for COVID-19.

“That’s something right now that people can do to help end this pandemic,” said Lizzie Covington, development director and main contact for the Virtual LUNG FORCE Walk event.

This format is a major change, explained Covington, but ultimately the smartest choice.

“COVID-19 has forced us to really make what was the smartest decision for those folks that usually come together and walk,” Covington said. “We have been adjusting this year and we did that pretty quickly. We are excited the event went virtual.”

This work is very vital, especially during this time, Covington explained. Despite maybe being stuck at home or behind computers, every connection and discussion helps spread the word.

“Lung disease doesn’t stop, and neither can we,” Covington said. “We’re here, we are fundraising, and we are trying hard to reach all those in our communities to make sure that everybody knows that we are fighting for every dollar to make sure not another person has to suffer from COVID-19 or lung cancer.”

Pre-pandemic, the event saw hundreds of people at the Milwaukee County Zoo ready to walk, according to Covington. Now, while the number of participants is still strong, everything is on each person’s own time over the course of the week.

“Just because we’re not able to gather together, that really doesn’t stop our mission,” said Covington. “It’s now more important than ever that we’re still trying to raise funds and awareness even if it just locally in our own communities.”

Participants can track any activity and fundraise on the free Lung Force app. There is also the capability of sharing among platforms which allows users to reach out to friends for donations. The activity tracker feature notes participants’ miles and has a leaderboard.

Registration is free and can be completed at lungforce.org/Milwaukee. Participants can register as a team or individual. Rewards are available through donations. For every $33 or more raised, participants receive an

American Lung Association sports scarf. For every $100 fundraised, participants receive a LUNG FORCE T-shirt.

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