This Army veteran is helping to take the fight to lung cancer

Angela Downs served in the Army during the Iraq War.

(CNN)An Army combat veteran who is facing the fight of her life has joined forces with a former NFL player to raise awareness in the battle against lung cancer.

Retired Lt. Col. Angela Downs served 21 years in the Army, including a 2006 deployment to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
One year ago this month Downs was on the receiving end of a personal bombshell when she was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer.
Lung cancer facts

  • 1 in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.

  • One person is diagnosed with lung cancer every 2.3 minutes.

  • More than 228,000 will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.

  • 60% to 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.

Source: Lungevity Foundation

"I had zero clue I had lung cancer. I had a little dry cough that wouldn't go away. It annoyed my husband more than it did me," Downs said.
    After repeated trips to the doctor, a chest X-ray, scans, and a biopsy, the results confirmed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
    The 43-year-old Seattle mother of two never smoked, and says she still gets a shocked response when people find out she has lung cancer. "People will say, "I didn't know you smoked!" when I tell them my diagnosis.
    "I think the stigma is that it's a lifestyle disease, a smoker's disease," said Downs.

    Lung Cancer Awareness Month

    Downs was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2018.
    November is