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Supporting Others with Cancer


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November 19th, 2014 - by Katie Brown

If you’re supporting people impacted by cancer because of your own personal experience, you have an acute insight that not all people possess.

You understand a little better.  You listen and hear a little more.  You have walked that walk in that patient or caregivers shoes.  If you have chosen to support people impacted by cancer you have chosen to lead with your heart.

One thing is for certain; your heart will be broken.

It will break many many times when you lose the people you grow to care about…so why would you choose to do it?  People have asked me dozens of times over the last 11 years why I chose this path of supporting people with lung cancer that sometimes leads to loss and incredible sadness.

I feel like the moment my dad was diagnosed my path was chosen for me.  Everything in my life changed and I changed with it.  I also chose to make something out of my situation and experience.  I wanted to make my losses meaningful in some way and I knew I could make a difference and honor and remember the people I cared about at the same time.

As a cancer survivor myself, I felt an obligation to give back to others and help clear a path for those who were diagnosed with cancer. It’s taken me a very long time to accept that not all people feel the way I do.

I’ve met many people who say they want to make a difference, but their actions speak louder than their words.  They don’t do anything.  They aren’t proactive.  They don’t seek opportunities and sometimes they make commitments or promises they just don’t keep.  I’ve also seen families, survivors and advocates walk away. I’ve seen energetic and motivated people whose dedication-light was extinguished with the loss of someone they had grown to care for.

I’ve even seen members of a support group disappear because they didn’t want to “be” in that space emotionally…they choose to put cancer out of their lives and out of their heads and move on. That’s not wrong. To each their own.

We all have heart limitations.  Still, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when I see that happen. There are so few people advocating for people with lung cancer.

What continues to inspire me are the hearts of some people I’ve had the honor of meeting and working with. These people are actually fueled by those losses to DO more, CARE more and reach out to MORE people.  All in the hopes that one day the scale will tip and there will be more survivors than not.  And in the process they have made the lives of others, however cut short, better, easier and more peaceful.

Are you one in a thousand or are you one out of a thousand?  Those impacted by lung cancer need others who can raise awareness, advocate on their behalf, offer support, guidance, information and friendship.  I always think to myself when I meet someone new: What if this were me?  What if it was my loved one? Wouldn’t I want someone to be there for them?  So I am.

Lung cancer can be ugly.

Supporting those with it- either as a medical professional, advocate or caregiver, can be incredibly beautiful.






Supporting Others with Cancer 

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