In 2011, I received this email from one of my dearest friends:
“As most of you know, my mom, a non-smoker, lost a 10 year battle to lung cancer a litte over 2 years ago. During her fight, my mom never stopped “living”. She continued to do the things she loved to do and take care of everyone around her. You would have NEVER known she was sick! She really beat the odds by surviving longer than 5 years after her initial diagnosis and she continued to fight strong near the end. Even when she was told she would never get off a ventilator and breath on her own again… she did!!!
Please take a minute to read these facts about lung cancer:
Lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colorectal, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined.
- Nearly 80% of new lung cancer cases are either former smokers or NEVER smokers.
- Lung cancer kills 85% of newly diagnosed patients within five years.
- Congress earmarks funding within the CDC for specific cancers. The 2010 budget includes:
- $215 million for breast cancer research,
- $45 million for colon cancer research
- $14 million for prostate cancer research
- $0 for lung cancer research.
On November 5, I will be participating in the Lung Cancer Race for Breath to raise money for the American Cancer Society. This will be my 4th year participating.
My mom actually walked this 5K with me just a few months before her cancer recurred for the final time.
I admit, I didn’t know the information she sent to us in that email. Once I learned it though, I wanted to yell it from the rooftops. Jan did not ask us to walk with her, because it took everything in her just to send us that email. To openly acknowledge her painful loss and the desire to repair the world – to personally fight against lung cancer- to ask us for donations… the whole thing made her incredibly uncomfortable.
Jan says that she imagines my father and her mother hanging out “up there”… and I admit, I LOVE the idea. It makes me laugh and cry all at once (and that aint a pretty sight). It makes me FURIOUS that they are not here with us.
I am sharing this publicly because this, I have no doubt, has touched too many people we all know – and though Jan may actually kill me for posting, I want her to know how great the many arms are reaching around her … not only her BFF’s.
This year, please come out to the race and if you can’t do that – consider making a donation (no money is too little, of course!)
No one should make the choice not to smoke, and then get diagnosed with lung cancer.
In HONOR and in memory of my dear friend’s mother… Maxine, YOU ARE MISSED!!!!!