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The Critical Battleground Community ~ Young Voices


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The Critical Battleground Community ~ Young Voices

November 19th, 2012 - by Jill Feldman

http://blog.lungevity.org/2012/11/19/th ... ng-voices/

Leading up to the election and for a few days after I was obsessed with the absurd amount of time, energy and money spent on the presidential election. I just kept thinking, all that campaigning and now what? What if 1/4 of those resources were spent on raising awareness or money for lung cancer research? Do 1/4 of Americans even know that November is Lung Cancer Awareness month?

Like most Americans, I followed the election the night of November 6th as different states were colored red or blue. I was particularly interested in the battleground states and the significance of winning those states for each candidate. It was also interesting how much emphasis was put on the importance of people getting to the polls and voting, especially for certain groups. The young voters, the future of our country, played a key role in the election.

Lung cancer isn’t much different. The opposing candidates are Lung Cancer and Life, and there are various ‘battleground’ communities in this campaign including, government, general public, medical professionals, patients, and caregivers. Young voices also play a critical role in this campaign.

The government has already shown us that lung cancer is not a priority, therefore, Lung Cancer wins that community.

Lung Cancer wins the general public because just like those who choose not to vote, the majority of society, for various reasons, chooses not to take a stand against lung cancer.

The medical community is split because there are still many medical professionals that perpetuate stigma and/or believe the disease represents nihilism.

Life clearly wins the patient and caregiver community, although there are still patients and caregivers that feel shame or are too sick to advocate for themselves, their disease and change.

That leaves the young voices — the critical battleground community that could compel others to rethink lung cancer. This is a community that can incite change by caring about the WHAT (what are we going to do) not the HOW or WHY (how or why someone gets lung cancer).

There is an insightful group of teenagers in the young voices community who have chosen to vote Life and lead that campaign. Deerfield High School, in Chicago’s northern suburbs, organizes School Chest each year, a three-week-long charity drive that unites students, teachers and residents behind an organization with a cause they believe in and connections in the community. LUNGevity Foundation was chosen as the 2012 beneficiary.

I can’t put into words the respect and admiration I have for these students. They recognize the impact and reality of lung cancer. They understand that we need to get past the blame game, and they know that anyone can get lung cancer. These teenagers are proud to stand up to lung cancer, and they do so with determination and conviction. They vote Life!

As a lung cancer patient and Deerfield mom of four, I am touched and completely awed by the students of Deerfield High School. They will help give lung cancer a much needed voice, and theirs will be loud. There won’t be a stigma to erase if this community understands the REAL story. They will make a difference — and that gives me so much hope for the future – for Life!

You can watch these amazing teenagers in action, and donate to their tireless efforts, by visiting www.lungevity.org/schoolchest & www.facebook.com/schoolchest2012lungevity.

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