“When the voices of real life-and-death stories from CanSAR members join together with others, lives are saved.”
– Liz Hoffmann, CanSAR Founder

Elizabeth (Liz) Hoffmann

Milwaukee, WI
“I was diagnosed with lung cancer, Stage IIIA in September, 2003 at age 37. I never smoked, nor was there any family history of lung cancer… I will do everything I can to help spread the importance of radon testing so no one else will hear the words, “you have cancer” (due to radon exposure).”  (2013)

Leona Brown

Sim Valley, CA
“My mother, who was a non-smoking  marathon runner and in the best shape of her life, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer on Oct 7, 2008. Our family was shocked; there was no reason for this. Her oncologist didn’t have any answers; she lost her battle in August 2009. She fought for 10 months.” (2009) – Keri Nelson, Leona Brown’s daughter

Ginger Collins

Pearisburg, VA
“For more than 30 years, my mother Ginger Collins worked, prayed and raised her three daughters in the ranch-style brick house she my dad built at Bunker Hill… In January, the level of radon was more than four times the EPA action level in her house. My family had never heard of radon and had no idea of the devastation it could cause.” (2011) – Tina Steele, Ginger Collins’ daughter


Linda D’Agostino

Conestoga, PA
“Having smoked, I thought that was the reason I had developed lung cancer until I saw the Radon PSA on TV and searched the Internet to discover that radon gas in the home increases the chances of lung cancer for smokers or former smokers many times over… I feel like I have been robbed. It’s like a movie on ‘Lifetime’, only I’m living it. I am angry, but I am on a mission to raise radon awareness.”  (2013)

Dennie Edwards

Elyria, OH
“Even though I’ve been a real estate agent for 31 years, I had never bothered to test my house for radon. I always informed my clients that radon testing prior to purchase was an option (to protect my liability), but truthfully, I really didn’t care if they tested or not. Now I had to wonder whether my lung cancer had been caused by radon exposure.”  (2008)

Julia Harris

Interville, GA
“Julia was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in September of 2003. She had never smoked a cigarette in her life, but she found out too late she and her husband Jack had been living in elevated radon concentrations for nearly 19 years. In March of 2004, lung cancer took her life. It didn’t have to. If testing her home for radon were required for a mortgage, chances are Julia would still be with us.” (2004) 

Steph Langstraat

Newton, IA
“I have something very terrible, but I’m going to do something very positive with it… The doctor had a hard time understanding why a 33-year old non-smoker was in this position. The doctors told me the first thing that comes to mind is radioactive radon gas exposure, which makes me one of the thousands of U.S. lung cancer patients each year whose carcinoma can be traced back to radon.”

Bob MacEwan

Lake Oswego, OR
“Bob thought he had burst a blood vessel in his neck, but an X-ray showed a major tumor in his lung. This was a shock because Bob was only 49 and a non-smoker… Radon testing should be part of any home inspection. Many real estate agents treat radon as if it doesn’t even exist.” (2004)   Marlene MacEwan, Bob MacEwan’s wife.

Susan McCormick

Portland, OR
“I had lung cancer and the tumor in my lung was about the size of my loosely clenched fist. Shocked? Beyond words. I’d always been very healthy and even though I’d smoked, it had been over twenty years since I’d quit, and the doctors said my cancer didn’t fit a smoker’s profile.”  (2010)

Barb Neitge

Shorewood, MN
“The call came in September 2009. The doctor told me, you have lung cancer. I was shocked. How could this happen to me? Knowing that radon was in my home all these years is hard to think about. We must pass legislation so that other people and their families do not have to go through the trauma of radon-induced lung cancer.”  (2010)

Monica Pryor

Taylor, SC
“My surgeon said that the cancer either came from smoking, asbestos, chemicals, or radon. Since the first two are not possible, most likely it is radon-induced lung cancer… I am finding that this struggle is as much an emotional and mental fight as it is a physical one; however, the physical suffering is terrible.” (2008)

Angela M. Riley

Slippery Rock, PA
“I am a former nurse, so I know the importance of taking care of one’s health. I never smoked or worked around smoke… Not knowing how in the world I could have developed lung cancer, I tested my house for radon and discovered my girls and I had been living in a very high concentration of 55 pCi/L. I also discovered my neighbor, who died of lung cancer in late 2002, had been living in over 70 pCi/L!”

Sandra Sponcler

Chattaroy, WA
“My lung cancer was the worst surgery I have ever been through in all of my 64 years. If I had just known more about radon-induced lung cancer, I certainly would have checked often for radon levels. Everyone’s home should be tested for radon. Please take action against radon now. Test, fix and save a life!” 

Lori Tassin

Des Moines, IA
“For most, this diagnosis would have been a life sentence, but for me it’s been an opportunity to transform, and live a more meaningful life. I am a fighter with strong faith, outgoing nature and a tremendous love for life. I am not ready to give up, and going to do everything in my human power to not only beat this, but to touch and change the lives of those around me along this journey.” (2015)

Bob Adams

Huntsville, AL
“My house has a full finished basement that tested three to four times higher than the EPA’s Radon Action Level. Since we had such a high reading and I’ve lived here such a long time, it was reasonable to suspect that radon was the cause of my lung cancer because I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in over 50 years. Fortunately for me, they caught it in time making surgery an option.” (2015)

DonnaLee Caringella

Highland Park, IL
“Being a physically fit 46-year old non-smoker with no family history of lung cancer, I don’t fit the profile for lung cancer by any measure… I wish to do all I can to prevent any reoccurrence of cancer, which includes ridding or reducing the radon exposure in the house.”  


Ann Cosper

Huntsville, AL
“The only thing they could attribute to causing my lung cancer is the fact I had radon in my home – and didn’t know it. When I learned that radon likely brought this on I was petrified. I felt so helpless. There is no way I can stress enough to the public how important it is to have your radon checked.” 


Steve Dugan

Castle Rock, CO
“My husband, Steve, worked an average of 10 hours a day in our basement for the past seven years. Recently lung cancer took his life… If I had only known of the potential danger, perhaps . . . I truly believe that the level of radon in our home accelerated Steve’s onset of lung cancer even though he smoked.” (2009) – Faye Dugan, Steve Dugan’s wife.  

Debbie Greenman

Loon Lake, WA
“Like many others on this page, I have led a healthy life style. I never smoked, my parents didn’t smoke and, as a teacher, I have always worked in a non-smoking environment. Just before Thanksgiving in 2008, I went into the hospital for a routine hysterectomy. As part of pre-op, the hospital required a chest x-ray. That x-ray saved my life.” 

Jill Johnson

Freeport, IL
“You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out I had non-small cell lung cancer in December of 2008. The irony of my diagnosis was stunning. You see, up to that point in my life, I was immersed in the world of ballet and modern dance… Since my diagnosis, I have discovered that most people I talk with about radon gas know little or nothing about it; and those who are aware of its dangers (including my doctors) under play it as a possible cause for lung cancer.” (2010)

Joe Linnertz

Waterloo, IL
“We asked the doctor what causes lung cancer and he said smoking and radon gas. We didn’t know what radon was and Joe hadn’t smoked for 27 years… If we had just known about this silent killer and if someone had told us of its deadly power and how easy it is to test and mitigate, we would have done it.” (2006) – Gloria Linnertz, Joe Linnertz’s wife. 

Diane Mayer

Weston, MA
“I am a never-smoker, and competed as a ’weekend’ triathlete for years before my diagnosis... We  tested our new house for radon and found levels that were too high, about 4 times the EPA’s recommendation. The radon mitigation system was installed and we assumed it was working properly until my diagnosis. Our electrical outlet for the mitigation fan, however, had tripped and was not working.(2013) 

Sue Michael

New Castle, PA
“I was at greater risk for radon exposure because I was a stay -at -home mom for 25 years... We discovered after it was too late, we’d been living in a radon concentration of 6.8 pCi/L. We’ve never smoked. When I went to the oncologist (in May 2003), I knew that it was in the lungs, the liver and some of the lymph nodes. And then I found out it was also in the bones in three different places.” (2005)

Gail Orcutt

Pleasant Hill, IA
“I’m not sure why, but we thought to check for radon a few weeks ago. The test results came back 6.9! There are six doctors who know about my case, and not ONE of them ever mentioned radon. They all know I’m a non-smoker… If I can keep just one person from going through this, I’d feel it was all worth something.”  

Debby Lebensdorf

Winchester, OH
“Two physicians suggested that we check our home for radon gas which we did.  The results came back in double digits.  I had no idea that we were living with this silent killer or that it is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers until my diagnosis was made… It’s easy to plan your life; it’s harder to plan not to have one, and so I never dreamed I would be fighting this battle.”  (2012)

Barbara Sorgatz

Glen Ellyn, IL
“Having never smoked nor been exposed to a significant amount of second hand smoke, I was puzzled as to how I developed lung cancer with no family history of it. Upon doing some research on the internet, I discovered that radon is estimated to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today and a leading cause of lung cancer in healthy people who have never smoked.”  

Walt Staiert

Elk Horn, IA
“On April 9, 2012, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  He was not a smoker so the diagnoses came as a huge surprise to us.  Dad only went through one round of radiation and one dose of chemotherapy before the cancer became so aggressive there was nothing the doctors could do… Had we known sooner about the risks associated with radon, my dad may still be with us today.” (2012) – Krista Allen, Walt Staiert’s daughter 

Glenn Wong

Sherman Oaks, CA
“Glenn Wong is a 49 year-old, lifetime non-smoker, with no prior exposure to second-hand smoke. In June 2009, he was diagnosed with an advanced case of lung cancer. Through research, we learned that radon is the leading cause of cancer among non-smokers… We have found testing and even mitigation are relatively inexpensive, easy, and effective. So, radon is not the crime – lack of knowledge and disclosure is.” (2012)