From Your Local Lung Association
LUNG FORCE continues to build momentum in California through our local events and campaigns:
- We partnered with the design firm The Cowlick Appeal to develop a social media campaign pro-bono, featuring local LUNG FORCE Heroes. The campaign launched on November 2015 to celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month and increase public awareness about LUNG FORCE.
- LUNG FORCE was visible throughout California with five Walks, two Galas, one Expo, and numerous community outreach and education events to engage local communities, raise awareness about lung cancer, and build Team Turquoise throughout the state.
- Turquoise Takeover 2016 included the turquoise illumination of the famous Los Angeles International Airport pylons, and a week of LUNG FORCE messaging on display inside the eight-time World Series champion San Francisco Giants' stadium.
- We held five LUNG FORCE roundtables in California wherein patients, caregivers, and survivors shared their experiences and challenges with lung cancer. Our team is using what we learned to understand the needs of lung cancer patients so as to better provide and develop services, information and policy measures to fight this disease.
Kendra J. – LUNGFORCE Hero (San Diego, CA)
January 6, 2013: I awakened in the ambulance, traveled via a luxury gurney to the MRI tube, injected with drugs, and finally had a semi-sense of what was happening when someone from the hospital said, "You have Stage 4 lung cancer that metastasized to your brain. You will have brain surgery in the morning. Your cancer is not curable but manageable." Lung cancer? But I never smoked. I have no family history of cancer and I've never worked in confined, smoky rooms. I started with heavy chemo and was blessed with only leg neuropathy and fatigue. By summer, I returned to my full-time responsibilities while continuing chemo with 39 sessions of relaxing radiation.
The tumor was shrinking—RAH!—But the drug efficacy began to plateau. The next year was spent in a "wait & watch" mode. My doctoral and master's students watched for new hats to cover my beautiful bald head and learned to literally "freeze frame" their thoughts during my cough-athons.
We tried another chemo to treat the cancer, but it failed. I was then "selected" for a Moore's Cancer Center vaccine trial where I was injected with live cancer cells. The fascinating research protocol included photographing the five vials that had to be injected in five minutes. In spite of my prayers directing the vaccine to form antibodies to fight the cancer, I flunked the clinical trial. This "F" was almost as embarrassing as the "D" I received in college bowling.
I retired and began "Cancer Management 201." Simultaneously, I began OPDIVO immunotherapy last August, and was again blessed with only the side-effects of some fatigue and fluid accumulating in my lungs. My friends, family, and faith have helped me fight this disease for 3 1/2 years. I cope by finding the ironies of my "management" efforts and laughing through the pain and the fear.
I hope to spend the next year continuing to volunteer for the Lung Association and encouraging everyone to pay attention to their health and to donate to the research efforts of this organization!