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Carepages Story featuring Katie Brown

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Role Models: Two Extraordinary Women Who Have Transformed Hard Times into Real Support

Meet Katie Brown and Bonnie Addario. Though they live across the country and have never met, (Katie is a mom of small kids in Dallas, TX and Bonnie is a former CEO and grandmother of three who lives near San Francisco), they’ve both been blindsided by the deadliest of all cancers – lung cancer. Katie lost her father less than a year after he was diagnosed. Bonnie is celebrating her three-year anniversary from escaping the usually fateful reality of lung cancer. She’s one of the rare ones who wear the badge of survivor.

Both women discovered the hard way that there weren’t a lot of places, if any, to turn to find “someone who has been there” during their early days when their worlds were rocked by the diagnosis of this killer cancer.

That’s why they decided to write their own roadmaps for reaching out to help those on the lung cancer journey. They are both convinced that there’s a lot that can be done to help people and to bring lung cancer out from under a shroud of darkness and into the national limelight. They’re determined to rally the troops to find a cure for lung cancer, to wipe out the stigma against smokers and to foster early medical detection for the disease.

And, it’s because both women have endured through lung cancer that they can give advice on how to step up gracefully and fight the fight.

To that end, Katie and Bonnie have independently launched influential lung cancer foundations: Katie and her husband, Rick founded: The Lung Cancer Support Community (www.lchelp.org) to foster hope and give support to anyone affected by a lung cancer diagnosis. Bonnie launched The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. (www.abreathawayfromthecure.org) its mission is to eradicate lung cancer through research, screening, education, prevention, and treatment. Here are their stories.

Katie Brown, co-founder The Lung Cancer Support Community

In September of 2002, Katie Brown remembers the day lung cancer rushed into her life like a tornado. Eleven months later, her father Jessee Dewey, 64, died from lung cancer.

“I remember going online to try to find some help for him, and there was absolutely nothing,” says Katie. “I didn’t know what to do for my dad. When he was diagnosed, I felt so helpless. Two months after his diagnosis, my husband and I set up a Web site. I needed help and I wanted to help other people”

Within a month, www.lchelp.org had 400 visitors looking for support for lung cancer; 1000 visitors a few months later and currently there are 3,500 registered members. Today, the foundation’s site has had four million guests per month.

“We didn’t have time to wait around for money and research, that’s why I felt we had to do this,” says Katie. “We want to provide a place where you can learn about their treatments, their successes and disappointments,” says Katie Brown.

Recently, her Lung Cancer Support Community joined forces with the Chicago-based LUNGevity Foundation to: marshal efforts to support those affected by lung cancer, to bring members the latest lung cancer information, provide a 24- hour online support network, and to also to provide our CarePages Web community for those journeying through lung cancer to Blog their experience and to form a community of support and inspiration.

Bonnie Addario

In the beginning, Bonnie Addario reacted to her diagnosis of lung cancer with terror. Two things stand out from the hazy curtain that hung over the early days: She refused to view illness as a death sentence; there was a lot she could do to fight it. The second was her fear for her three children and their new families. She realized they needed her now more then ever. The thought that cancer could rob her of her future with them was completely tormenting.

Then 55-years-old California resident was matter- of- fact, strong and grounded. “I was terrified, but I thought I had to put up a strong front. I cried in the shower.”

Today, almost three years later, Bonnie is one of the rare survivors of this killer cancer. She has transformed the fight in her to live and her indomitable spirit into an international battle to eradicate lung cancer by launching The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. (www.abreathawayfromthecure.org).

“After recovery, which was long, and arduous, I had plenty of time to think … I knew I was going to work to educate people on lung cancer and the need to get early detection,” says Bonnie. “I have had five people in my family develop lung cancer … including myself. Three have died. There is no cure yet and when you are diagnosed with cancer you have it forever. It looms over your life like the dark shadow on the scan. I want to make a difference for my children, my grandchildren and all the people out there that have a shadow on their lung and haven’t been to the doctor yet.”

Rallying politicians, physicians, celebrities, researchers, survivors and a growing roster of 3,500 people, Bonnie and her foundation’s efforts are tireless and unstoppable. Less than six months into the forming of the Foundation, the group staged a full-blown bash at San Francisco’s City Hall, bringing in over $650,000 and drawing a crowd of 600 from across the country. Lung cancer patients as far away as Monaco, reach out to Bonnie. She reaches back, committed to holding the hands of each person individually.

Bonnie will not stop until a cure is found for this killer cancer which claims almost 500 lives a day and is the #1 cancer killer.

Says Bonnie: “While we wait for the cure which is coming, we must save lives through early detection and screening.” For more information on Bonnie, her foundation and the work she is doing to wipe out lung cancer, please go to her CarePage at www.carepages.com.

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