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Survivor Takes Aim At Cancer Killer


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http://cbs5.com/jeffersonawards/Jeffers ... 21756.html

There is a video at the link above. Following is the text of the article:

Survivor Takes Aim At Cancer Killer

Jefferson Award Winner: Bonnie Addario


Barbara Rodgers (CBS 5)

Opera singer Beverly Sills... broadcast journalist Peter Jennings... singer, wife, and mother, Dana Reeve... three talented individuals... three lives claimed by lung cancer. Two of them were non-smokers.

"When I saw the statistics for lung cancer, 450 people in the United States die every day. In the world, it's 1.3 million annually. That's like a plane dropping out of the sky daily," says Bonnie Addario. "I questioned why there was so little being done about it."

So Bonnie did something, setting up the non-profit Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation two years ago. Since then, she has raised more than two million dollars to help eradicate lung cancer - a disease that invaded her chest in 2003.

"When i was recovering, because I had chemo, radiation, surgery -- and the surgery was pretty awful -- I had a lot of down time, so I was doing a lot of research on cancer," Bonnie says. "It made me angry. For every nine dollars of research money that goes to breast cancer, one dollar goes to lung. Sadly enough, I think it's the stigma of smoking and that unfoundedly people believe that if someone has lung cancer and smoked that somehow they deserve to die."

Bonnie says 60 percent of lung cancers now are diagnosed in people who've quit smoking or never smoked at all.

She is among the only 15% who survive. Usually lung cancer is detected too late for effective treatment.

At Redwood City's Sequoia Hospital, one place Bonnie was treated and where she sits on the board, a 64-slice CT scanner promises to improve the survival rate.

"It's about ten times more sensitive than a regular chest x-ray, so it can find lung cancers at much smaller sizes and earlier stages," says pulmonologist Melissa Susann Lim.

Because of funds raised by Bonnie's foundation, more people who might be at risk for lung cancer will have access to this sophisticated technology that might detect their lung cancers earlier. The foundation pays the cost of the screening program, including the salary of the nurse who runs it. But for Bonnie, raising millions and raising awareness are not enough.

She says, "We put together a summit of the brightest and the best lung cancer clinicians. That day was the first time all of these doctors and clinicians and researchers sat in one room and actually talked about what they could do together, how they could collaborate together to accelerate a cure. I think right now that's the thing that I am most proud of."

For her dedication to eradicating lung cancer through fund raising, education and fearless determination, this week's Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Bonnie Addario.

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