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Celebrating 6 Years of LIFE


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Celebrating 6 Years of LIFE

September 7th, 2012 - by admin

by Lois Green

http://blog.lungevity.org/2012/09/07/ce ... s-of-life/

I am a runner and I diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006.

I didn’t have any risk factors. I was relatively young and healthy and by sheer luck at a company health fair I was encouraged to see a specialist for my asthma. The rest is history.

The year that followed my lung surgery was EPIC!!! The support from my friends, family and colleagues was OVER THE TOP! The letters I received are treasures etched in my heart forever. I ran my next marathon 9 months after surgery with my daughter Tara at my side through every mile. We raised $20,000 for LLS. That was incredible!

But not everyone is as lucky as I was to have found their lung cancer in its earliest stage, or have the support from friends and family during their cancer experience.

Lung cancer impacts one in 14 Americans and kills more than breast, prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancers combined.

Currently, only 16% of people diagnosed with lung cancer survive 5 years post-diagnosis, a percentage significantly lower than that for each of these other cancers.

While colon, breast, and prostate cancer all have reliable early detection tests, lung cancer does not.

About 55% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked. I was one of them.

Lung cancer claims approximately 160,000 lives per year.

Less than $2,000 of Federal research dollars are spent for every lung cancer death, compared with $25,000 for breast cancer and $12,000 for prostate cancer.

The media focuses on a variety of cancers, but often overlook lung cancer because of the stigma associated with the disease. Many people think that smokers should know better and expect related health problems when they smoke. As a nation we don’t give enough attention to lung cancer treatment and prevention.

And the public should know that never smokers get lung cancer too. Anyone with lungs can get it, like me.

Earlier this year I attended a friends dinner party where I was among several doctors and their spouses. We had finished dinner so I excused myself from the table to indulge in the variety of desserts only to discover on my return that I was the topic of conversation for being a lung cancer survivor and a runner. The doctor sitting next to me turned and said “You’re a lung cancer survivor? That is amazing because when most people are diagnosed with lung cancer it is already too late.” That moment raises an emotion in me, and I am reminded of how lucky I am.

On May 4, 2012, I attended the annual HOPE Summit for LUNGevity in Washington D.C. On arrival we meet with everyone we bonded with from last year and it is more exciting when we learned the attending lung cancer survivors has tripled in attendance this year! The HOPE Summit Agenda is always packed with fascinating people and events. The second morning of the summit I entered the conference room and “HOPEtastic” was everywhere. Survivors who have written books had brought copies to share. Keynote speakers shared their incredible stories, research doctors educated us on many topics, and media were there to video personal testimonies.

Randall Broad, Author and stage III lung cancer survivor reminded us all that “It’s An Extraordinary Life..Don’t Miss It”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Randy told his story.

Jorge Gonzalez was 47 when he was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer on May 28, 2011. He was young, relatively healthy and a non smoker without risk factors. He is married with two daughters and treasures the time with his family. Jorge says, “The biggest fear I had when I was diagnosed was over my family. I didn’t know what to do so I made arrangements, I wanted to make sure things were taken care of incase I didn’t survive this.” But he did. “Everyday above ground is a good day.”

Then there was Sara Ratzenberger, who arrived in a wheel chair with an iv and nasal cannula for added oxygen. Nothing was going to stop this brave little girl, young lady, from attending the HOPE Summit. Sara came with every ounce of determination. She is stage 4, 1.5 year Survivor. When I see Sara on Facebook, she is pure Sunshine and lives every day to the fullest. Sara is pretty with blonde hair, blue hair (for LUNGevity) or sometimes very little hair. We all love Sara. When I am less motivated to run, I peek in on Sara and I have sudden purpose. Sara recently had a second thoracotomy.

I recall the tender moment after my surgery, when I could barely open my eyes. My Dad, (who was a smoker) came in my room alone and placed his hand on mine over the iv and said “I hope I didn’t do this to you”. “No Dad, you didn’t.”

People!! This is NOT a smoker’s disease. Lung cancer does not discriminate.

I cannot fathom a second thoracotomy. I had a pity party when my ICU nurse assisted me out of bed for my first walk on the metal walker. With lines/tubes extended from neck, my arm, my waste, and my back, I sobbed in those first steps until my nurse *Mary* said “Lois, you will run again”.

When HOPE Summit concluded our cup runneth over with friendship, renewed spirit and Hope.

I didn’t write a book. I wasn’t a keynote speaker. I didn’t arrive in a wheel chair. I never had chemotherapy or radiation. My dear friend who I worked with in the East Greenbush plant is going through chemo right now. I asked him to describe chemo to me. The list was long and he concluded with “Lois, I’m going to be a survivor like you.”

Our survival inspires others and gives other’s Hope too!

On November 4, 2012, I am running the New York City Marathon with my daughter Tara and my dear friend Jenny Lee. We are representing The LUNGevity Foundation.

LUNGevity is the largest lung cancer nonprofit funding research into early detection and effective treatments of the disease. Our fundraising commitment is $8,000. The President of LUNGevity, Andrea Ferris, personally invited me to their first entry in the NYC marathon.

Our mission is to raise awareness that LUNG CANCER IS THE NO. 1 CANCER KILLER and if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

I’m not a loyal sports fan. I have my favorite teams, but when the event is near I always find myself routing for the under dog. This is how I feel about LUNGevity. I have been given the platform to raise the awareness NOW.. LUNGevity’s mission is to improve survival rates and promising research for early detection. That will save lives!

Will you join me in the fight against lung cancer? Every step is a step closer to a cure.

I believe in you…Thank you to my friends, family and supporters (and LUNGevity!) for believing in me.

Lung cancer didn’t just happen to me. I believe it happened for me -so that maybe I can make a difference against this disease and for others.

With LUNGevity, I have HOPE.

August 31, 2012, I celebrated LIFE and 6 years of being lung cancer free!

Please celebrate with me by showing your support of lung cancer research.

Please donate


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