The inspiration for Deborah’s philanthropic work was, in part, a desire to carry on the work that was started by Dana and Christopher Reeve, who suffered a spinal cord injury and paralysis due to a riding accident. Instead of allowing Christopher’s injury to destroy their lives, the couple decided to raise awareness for spinal cord injury and help others suffering. About ten months after Christopher’s death, Dana, a healthy nonsmoker, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. She passed away seven months later, in March of 2006.
As a board member of the Lung Cancer Alliance, Deborah continues to educate the general public and bring increased compassion and support to the most neglected, underfunded and lethal cancer, lung cancer. The Lung Cancer Alliance is the only national organization providing patient support and advocacy devoted solely to those living with lung cancer or those at risk of develop the disease. In addition, Deborah sits on the Boards of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Foundation and National Cancer Institute’s Director’s Consumer Liaison Group providing strategic guidance and advice on public health and policy matters.