Washington County family channels grief into search for lung cancer cure

Mark Mulholland & WNYT Staff
Updated: October 17, 2019 08:04 PM
Created: October 17, 2019 08:03 PM

A Washington County family who lost their beloved daughter to lung cancer is working hard to make sure others don't suffer the same fate.

The Winchell family has channeled their grief into helping find a cure for an often underfunded disease.


Deanna Winchell Heaney was just 28 and had a nagging cough. The doctors told her it was asthma and nothing to worry about. Her nurse mother wasn't comfortable accepting that diagnosis. She thought her daughter should get an x-ray. It turns out a woman who never smoked or wasn't around smoke had lung cancer.

She passed away four years later, leaving behind two young sons and a family who adored her.

Dee's family says they wanted to do something to honor her, and they realized quickly that lung cancer - because of the stigma associated with it, receives very little funding for research.

So her family partnered up with the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, raising awareness and big money in Dee's name.

Saturday will be the seventh annual "Free to Breathe Walk" in Lake George. Hoping to give families like theirs more precious time with their loved ones.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in Charles R. Wood Park.

MORE INFORMATION: Lake George "Free to Breathe" Walk

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