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LCSC- 4 years!


KatieB

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It's been 4 years since www.lchelp.org was created. It seems like a lifetime ago.

Of course the website looked a bit different then, and Rick and I went from LC Help to the Lung Cancer Support Community, but the mission was always the same- to provide complete support to those diagnosed with LC and their families.

Over the months and years that followed there were other organizations and advocates Rick and I collaborated with who wanted us to steer towards activism only, or to focus solely on survivors who could advocate in Washington D.C., but we remained steadfast in the belief that before anything else, support had to come first. Support for everyone, patients and those that loved them.

And that is really the truth if you think about it. When you hear those words, "you have lung cancer," or "your (insert name here) has lung cancer", you are completely lost. You world as you knew it shatters and you're left oftentimes alone, to pick up the pieces and try to inch forward. You're not thinking about washington or legislation or the lack of funding- just yet. You are in complete survival mode- trying to get thru one minute of this nightmare at a time until you see light again.

A little more than 4 years ago when my dad was diagnosed (Friday the 13th! Sept. 2002) there was no where for us to go. There still isn't an in-person LC support system in the surrounding area where I live! I felt hopeless, and desperate for hope..for anything...for someone to tell me that they had walked this walk too..and that there was a chance for survival and that I wasn't alone.

That's so important, and that's what we do here. We listen, we understand, we lift each other up and share experiences, advice, and develop friendships. When you come here, you know that you are never again alone.

Do you know the story of how LCSC came to be? I had found a thread discussion-type board with about a dozen people talking about LC on the internet. I was elated to finally find people who might understand. I had searched and searched the net and really didn't find any survivors- and the statistics associated with LC- well, you know.

So I glued myself to the computer for probably 2 straight days- then that website crashed and I couldn't find those people again!! I was devestated. I just sat at my desk and cried at the absurdity of it all. The one hope I thought I had found was gone.....

Rick came over and asked if he could help me. I brushed him off and told him there was nothing he could do to help me...my dad had LC and there seemed to be no hope.

I don't even remember seeing him or talking to him after that....Two days later, www.lchelp.org was created. He had created it for me, for my dad, for love. He couldn't take the cancer away, he wasn't a doctor, but he was the Director of IT and this was something he could do!

If you create it- they will come. And so many of you did....You needed support as badly as I did, we needed each other.

In those first several months, Rick and I watched the membership grow into the hundreds (now the thousands) - obviously others had felt the way I did and there was really no support out there in the "real" world for those affected by LC.

Now, four years later, I am in awe at what we've been able to accomplish.

Lives have been saved! - just by logging into this website. There have been members whose doctors gave them no hope of survival- who are now cancer free- thanks to someone on this messageboard who had information to share, a doctor to recommend, a new treatment drug, a new procedure. In the fight to survive, information is key- and we readily share that here.

People have spoken!- once shy and maybe introverted, I have seen people speak and speak loudly against this disease and the lack of funding for a cure.

I've watched these otherwise "quiet" people organize rallys, walks, fundraisers and awareness events to promote LC awarness and raise funds to support those with LC and to support research for a cure.

Profound friendships have developed!- from across the globe, we are all one community fighting to survive here at LCSC! Members from Hong Kong, Austrailia, United Kingdom, Canada and America have all come here. And all of us, from such different walks of life and different cultures have something in common. We are instant friends. We are quick to reach out to each other and throw out a life jacket when someone "sounds" like they are drowing in this new reality that is so frightening and uncertain.

We are the ones who truely understand.

I have a scrapbook forum here online that feature many events, parties, fundraisers, etc...and of course we are so proud of that. But the scrapbook that I have sitting on my desk is what I prize most.

The pages are filled with cards and letters handwritten from LCSC members. There are newstories and articles that feature many LCSC members. There are photographs of members meeting each other for the first time and embracing as if they have known each other for years. There are many letters and photos of members who are no longer with us, but remain so embedded in my heart.

I am forever changed by my fathers lung cancer diagnosis. I am much more aware. I value life and family and people so much more. My father's death left a huge hole in our hearts and our lives but we work hard to make his death mean something- when otherwise it would have simply been unfair or tragic.

I am also forever changed by my work here at LCSC, being able and available to help others every day either in person, by phone or on the net. I am a better person because of the members of LCSC- past and present. I am humbled by your experiences and I am honored you share them so freely with me and others who come here in dire need of support. I am blessed by your friendships.

So here's to the last 4 years and here's to our future, with LUNGevity, with each other, with the hope for a CURE.

Blessings to each and every one of you,

Katie

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:cry: Not sad though Happy :) You know what I mean. 8) Thanks Kaatie and Rick for all you sleepless nites of work here to get to this pointin so many peoples lives. :D Thanks!!!!!!!!
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Congratulations, Katie and Rick, for a great 4 years. I came on with you shortly after you started, so I feel like an old vet. I am so glad I found you. So much good has been done because you two stuck with it. Thanks so much. Let's open the bar and toast to many more years of lchelp! Don

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Ah (((Katie)))..............and I am forever changed by LCSC as well as you, sweet girl.

I joined 2 years ago in November, and I don't know how many lives you have changed, BUT you do know you literally SAVED mine. Info from this website SAVED my life, Katie, yes it did. I WAS a shy sort but now I shout about lung cancer every chance I get. Yes I do!!!!! I have survived since October 2004 because of this website. If I get bad news tomorrow, it is really all okay because I have outwittd that grim reaper for this long all becuase of YOU. Every day I thank God for my life and for YOU, Katie. You and Rick made a place for us to be....................I bet you didn't bargain that it would be a place to literally SAVE lives, did you? And I have passed it on to others as well. I am in contact with those who have needed support.................from my area and states nearby. I need to give back, Katie, for the life you have afforded me..........and hopefully I am doing that.

You and Rick are certainly angels here on earth......yes you are. At least you are MY angels. There is no way EVER I could repay you for what you have done for me. So..............all I can do is remain here for those who follow and hopefully give them hope that there is life after a lung cancer diagnosis.

Thank you, dear Katie and Rick. I am eternally indebted to you both.

Love and gratitiude,

Kasey

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You really have made such a difference. Everyone around me knows how important you all are to me. When one of our parents at school was Dx'd with lymphoma this week, a teacher told her, "Look on the Internet...maybe you can find a place like Mrs. Allen did. They have really helped her."

I searched for am place like this for my cousin when he was DX'd with pancreatic cancer, and found nothing. I truly thank God for this place.

:) Kelly

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Katie, what you and Rick have done here is only one of the ways that you still show your love for your dad, every hour of every day. And it's only one of the things he is no doubt sooooo proud of you (both!) for. It's not only your dad that you give your heart to, either -- it's all of us. Those fighting cancer personally, and those who love people fighting cancer. You're here for us all, and all the MEMBERS are also here for all our fellow members, and it really is just amazing what that means, isn't it?!

Thank you,

BeckyCW

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I don't know what I can add to what already has been said. I so appreciate this website. Perhaps selfishly, I wish you had been here 6 years ago when my father was first diagnosed. I did learn from the website that he should have had chemo than although the docs said it was't needed. Then he had the recurrance -- who knows what would've happened if this website had been around then? Suffice it to say, you helped hundreds, probably thousands of people and although my father is now gone, I still remain firmly attached to this website and want to support the members waging such a brave fight against this beast. Katie and Rick, you are truly amazing.

gail p-m

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Katie and Rick,

You two have given me so much I can't put it into words. I "need" to come here each day and try to be of service to someone. I admit that I get down and out sometimes and can't seem to find the words to post, but I am here...reading, feeling and hoping. Thank you both for being here and for this wonderful "place" you have created.

Nina

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Katie and Rick,

I don't think you guys have any idea the good you've done for so many people.

I have always felt that the doctors saved my life, but you guys saved my sanity.

Thank you, not just for me but for everyone else whose lives you've touched with this forum.

Cindy

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Katie,

I started reading the site long before I became a registered member. It took a while after registering for me to make my first post - and when I did, it was a long one (big surprise, I'm sure). I haven't used any medical advice read here because by the time I logged on, I was finished with my treatment and dealing with the emotional aspects of the disease and those damn statistics.

Reading stories of people who were living and SURVIVING helped me to pull myself out of pit of despair I had fallen into. I'm still hanging around here because I feel I owe my sanity to this site. I could have shriveled into a bitter "victim" with no active disease without having received "permission" to live from Fay A. and Ada and Judy...

I'm glad the site is still here, and that support is the main focus. Activism is a wonderful thing, but not everyone is cut out for it. There is no guilt for not being an activist here, no one is expected to give more than they can.

Thank you, Rick and Katie, from the bottom of my heart.

xxoo,

Becky

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Katie there's so much i could say but a great big GOD BLESS you and Rick for your sacrifice's. You both must have made to make this the success it is.There has been so much sadness here but also such wonderful live's that we were all able to be touched by and the great inspiration those that are still surviving this dreaded desease have given with the unspoken message of never give up.I have been here now for over 2 year's and have gotten to feel like i personally know each and every one here. Let me end this now as i could go on for ever and just say once again THANK YOU and may GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US....

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Katie, thank you just doesn't cover the effect you've had on my life, and my mother's life. I have no doubt that this website directly contributed to my ability to support and care for her through her recurrance last year. like I said, thank you doesn't cut it...but THANK YOU!

amie

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Katie and Rick,

Thank you soooo much for creating this site. I have only been here a short time, but it has made such a difference for me. I am a widow with 4 children at home. No adult to talk to and share the burden of this disease with on a daily basis. But I do have that here. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sharon

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