"There is hope," the legendary gospel singer says. "The more we come together, the more people will hear our message"

By Christina Dugan
Updated May 10, 2016 09:00 AM
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

Patti LaBelle is kicking off National Women’s Lung Health Week with a powerful message: share your voice.

The legendary gospel singer, 71, has joined the LUNG FORCE initiative through the American Lung Association.

LaBelle, who has previously opened up to PEOPLE about her personal connection to lung cancer, says that there is a lot of information that people aren’t aware of.

“I don’t think people know that it’s the No. 1 cancer killer of women, more so than breast cancer, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer combined,” the gospel star said in December. “One woman dies every eight minutes in the United States of lung cancer. Bottom line: We all can do more to learn about lung cancer and contribute something to the initiative.”

In effort to spread the word, LaBelle and a church choir from Harlem have teamed up to create a touching video that encourages people to fight for a cure.

“Making the video means so much to me because it’s spreading awareness about a very important cause and I know that it is helping people,” LaBelle tells PEOPLE exclusively.

In the video, LaBelle says, “I lost many important people in my life to lung cancer. It took two of my sisters in their early 40s and my choir director who helped me find my voice. Because they are no longer here to share their voices, I want to invite everyone to give 100 percent in the fight against lung cancer because 99 and a half won’t do. There is hope. The more we come together, the more people will hear our message.”

She adds, “Thank you so much for sharing your voices. Let’s do what we’re put on this earth to do – let’s all sing!”

To donate, visit LUNGFORCE.org beginning Tuesday and enter for a chance to meet LaBelle and see her perform at an upcoming concert.