Joy marred by tragedy as USA members nominate winners of their 2017 national awards 

Maureen Rigney of the Lung Cancer Alliance presents reporter Wendi Winters with her GLCC Excellence in Journalism Award

Wendi Winters, a journalist with the Capital Gazette, part of the Baltimore Sun media group, has been presented with one of the US GLCC awards for Excellence in Journalism. 

Chief among the work which earned her this prestigious prize was her self-effacing profile of Sheila Ross, long-term lung cancer survivor and campaigner.  

Sheila conceived the reconstitution of our predecessor organization ALCASE to establish Lung Cancer Alliance, delivering award winning community support, education, policy advocacy, and research both locally and globally.

Sheila was the very first advocate ever to elevate her voice and walk the halls of Congress to bring attention to the needs of the entire lung cancer community. Sheila made early detection her battle cry and was a tenacious and resolute warrior using her sheer force of determination, dignity and unwillingness to be deterred by her critics when it came to advancing this life-saving benefit to thousands at risk.

As a two time lung cancer survivor herself, Sheila always made herself available – day or night – seven days a week — to give advice and counsel to anyone seeking a helping shoulder to lean on.


Tragically, not long after receiving her GLCC award, Wendi Winters was killed, along with three other journalists and a sales assistant, in a shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

The others who died were Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara and Rebecca Smith. To mark the city’s sadness at the killings, a vigil was held at a public square near the Capitol, followed by a march to a dock for a service by the water, while Governor Larry Hogan ordered flags in the state to be lowered to half-mast.

"With the lowering of the Maryland flag, we honour the dedicated journalists of our hometown newspaper in our state's capital. To the family, friends, and colleagues at the Capital Gazette and its parent company, the Baltimore Sun, you have the deepest sympathies of a state in mourning," Hogan said.

This photo provided by the Baltimore Sun Media Group shows Wendi Winters, reporter for the Capital Gazette, who was killed by a gunman at the paper's newsroom on June 28, 2018.
Photo credit: Baltimore Sun Media Group. 

WENDI WINTERS - editor and community reporter (a tribute, adapted from the Baltimore Sun

"My mother was a wonderful woman and a fantastic reporter," her daughter Winters Geimer told The Baltimore Sun. "Her life was a gift to everyone who knew her and the world will not be the same without her. We are grieving and trying to make sure all of us can be together to celebrate the life of our mother."

Wendi was "the heart of the newspaper," Gunn said.

She was passionate about serving the community and a role model for younger journalist, he recalled.

"She was in many ways the best part of the newspaper in that she cared so much about the city," he said.

The Rev. Fred Muir's voice cracked on Friday when he described the mounting dread he felt as it became clear Wendi hadn't survived the shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

Wendi Winters was a special publications editor and a mother of four. Muir described her as a beloved "pillar of her community."

The Baltimore Sun says a memorial service for Winters will take place at noon July 7 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis.


The other United States GLCC award for excellence in journalism goes to Rachel Manteuffel of the Washington Post for her incisive profile of Laurie Fenton Ambrose. 


Carolyn 'Bo' Aldige with GLCC award recipient Rachel Manteuffel and Laurie Fenton Ambrose 

As a writer, Rachel Manteuffel had her first story published in The Washington Post at age 21. For the editorial department, where she has worked for five years, she broke the story of the misquotation on Martin Luther King's memorial before the memorial's opening ceremony, and led the charge (which included Maya Angelou and Stephen Colbert) on getting the quote fixed. She contributed reporting to Gene Weingarten's Pulitzer-winning ‘Pearls Before Breakfast’. She won a 2013 Livingston Award for National Reporting (Judges included Ken Auletta and Charlie Gibson) for a story on the objects people leave at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and the man who keeps them for Washingtonian.

Here, she highlights the work of Laurie Fenton Ambrose and Lung Cancer Alliance.  

In the fight against lung cancer, she’s battling stigmas attached to the disease

Laurie Fenton Ambrose, president and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance. (Joshua Yospyn/For The Washington Post)

By Rachel Manteuffel  April 13, 2017  Email the author

Laurie Fenton Ambrose, 56, is president and chief executive of Lung Cancer Alliance. She lives in Delaplane, Va., on a farm with rescue horses, dogs and the occasional parrot.

What is your job with lung cancer?

We really built it from the ground up. There was no voice specific to those who could be at risk for or living with lung cancer, a terribly stigmatized disease where everyone thinks, Oh, you smoked — it’s all your fault. You get what you deserve. It’s so far removed from that. It’s a lot more complex, and people don’t have to smoke to get the disease. Particularly younger women that are growing in numbers.

What year are you talking about, before your organization?

This would have been in 2004.

There still wasn’t any sort of advocate?

There was an incredible survivor herself who I knew working in the Senate, who, unbeknownst to me, was diagnosed twice and survived twice, which is so rare. And so she said, “We’ve got to do this.” I had met her when she was also a chief of staff on the Senate side. Over the course of these last 12 years, we’ve had achievements like no one thought possible, including new research pipelines, legislative victories.

More specifics on those, please.

We created a research pipeline that now has over $120 million. It’s a lung cancer research line in the Department of Defense, because our military men and women have a higher incidence of mortality because of occupational exposures.

Agent Orange and such.

Mm-hm. We secured early detection. Huge victory. Now, if you think about breast cancer and colon cancer, prostate cancer, all the cancers that have screenings, we have one for lung cancer.

From a public health standpoint, are you looking at pollution or smoking cessation for prevention?

There are already public health coalitions that are advocating against tobacco use. So for us it’s like, Okay, where are the gaps?

What’s the cure rate like?

Five-year survival is approximately 17 percent. [Most] of those with lung cancer are found late-stage because no one is looking at this as a disease with the same strategies we apply to other illnesses. Women have so benefited from 60 years of breast cancer movement, and we are seeing the benefit of advocacy, research funding, public-private partnerships. The survival rate is almost 90 percent.

My aunt died of lung cancer and had never smoked. I am realizing right now I always tell people that, like she was one of the good ones.

You feel you have to qualify. For public health reasons, you shouldn’t smoke, because it affects your heart, your lungs, your organs. It’s a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, for bladder cancer. But for lung, we stigmatize the tobacco industry — and rightly so. But the unintended consequences are, we stigmatize those who were deceived by very deceptive marketing practices. We often hear women say, “Why couldn’t it have been breast cancer? Because I know I would have been treated better by my doctor, and have more options.”


Anne Marie van Veen receives the Netherlands Global Lung Cancer Coalition Journalism Award for 2017


From Longkanker Netherlands 06-11-2017


Amersfoort - On Saturday, November 4, lung cancer patient Anne Marie van Veen received the GLCC Journalism Award for 2017. She received the prize for the many years she has dedicated to campaigning for  publicity for lung cancer in the media. She blogs, tweets, has her own website, and is invited to participate in newspaper and television interviews. Perhaps her most notable act is the bringing of legal proceedings against the tobacco industry, together with lawyer Benedicte Ficq.

Anne Marie (45) was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. She is married and a mother of four children. Anne Marie is an activist. She is a member of the patient advisory board of Longkanker Nederland, makes a case against the stigma that lung cancer patients have to deal with, and is suing the tobacco industry.

Despite the dangers, people continue to smoke. Anne Marie calls attention to the risks, but also makes a case against the first question people with lung cancer are asked being whether they used to smoke.

Nobody deserves lung cancer, no matter whether you used to smoke.

Anne Marie received the GLCC Journalism Award 2017 on Saturday, November 4 for her excellent contribution to lung cancer awareness in the media. The prize was awarded during the Longkanker Nederland national information afternoon, which was held in the Meander Medisch Centrum (Meander Medical Centre) in Amersfoort.