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Dancing with the Stars and Texas Tornados / by Katie Brown

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Dancing with the Stars and Texas Tornados

http://blog.lungevity.org/2012/04/04/da ... -tornados/

April 4th, 2012 - by Katie Brown

What do these two things have in common? Last night’s show coincided with a series of storms and tornado’s that swept across North Texas yesterday. After hours of sirens and news reports and video of tragedies that preempted regular programming, it was a reprieve to be able to watch a “real’ show and exhale. But the show left me almost as emotional as the storm before it had.

I’ve never watched DWTS before, so I know it had to be fate that I watched it last night. A dance was dedicated to a young dancer named Julia who was fighting lung cancer and who had no health insurance. The show’s efforts highlighted the fact that anyone, regardless of age or smoking history, could get lung cancer. It was beautiful. And it was momentous that a national show would actually talk about lung cancer!

It had already been an emotional day for many North Texans. It was reported that at least 10 tornado’s touched down and many homes and cars in counties that surrounded mine were destroyed. I had waited on pins and needles until the last school bell when I could dash among the many worried parents and collect my kids and cocoon them into the safety of my home. We survived that storm yesterday. But watching DWTS reminded me of our personal storm with lung cancer and how my dad did not survive.

Many people don’t know that lung cancer is a disease that can affect anyone. One in fourteen people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and over half of those diagnosed will be people who either quit smoking decades ago or who never smoked a day in their lives, like Julia. Lung cancer can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, health or smoking history. Its patients have felt stigmatized, neglected and unsupported in their communities. Lung cancer is the least funded cancer even though it kills more people each year than breast, prostate, pancreatic and colon cancers combined.

When my dad was diagnosed, we had no local support. The isolation of a lung cancer diagnosis can be intense. With little treatment options, incredible low survival rate and no support or resources, the odds and your will to survive can plummet. This was our devastating reality 9 years ago. My dad died 11 months and 21 days after his diagnosis. I promised my dad then that I would never stop working to support those affected by lung cancer. And I haven’t.

Today there are some new treatment options. Targeted therapies and gene testing and new ways to use radiation therapy to aid those with lung cancer have been developed to name a few. We are still a very long way from tipping the scales in our favor, but there is an incredible amount of hope thanks to LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer focused nonprofit and private funder of lung cancer research.

Thanks to LUNGevity anyone affected by lung cancer can get support thru the largest online support network. Patients and their families can get one on one support from LifeLine Support partners. There is a Caregiver Resource Center specifically for lung cancer caregivers that offer resources to help them help themselves and their loved ones and around 70 national events that let people raise awareness, honor their loved ones and raise funds for research.

There are many survivor stories on the LUNGevity blog and the LUNGevity Hope Summit in May celebrates survivorship and hope.

Dancing with the Stars celebrated hope last night. Thank you DWTS. We are getting the word out, one step, one dance at a time.

(Lung Cancer Survivors at Hope Summit 2011)

To see the DWTS dance dedication to Julia: http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-th ... noredirect

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