Detroit Women Offers Hope After Miraculous Lung Cancer Recovery
(September 17, 2019) - DETROIT
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When Mary Jo Grand went to the doctor for a lump on the side of her neck, she assumed it was an infection. What she didn’t know is that she was about to embark on a life-changing journey with stage IV lung cancer. On September 29, more than 11 years later, she’s living with no evidence of the disease, and will participate in the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Walk in Detroit, where she will share her story to raise awareness for lung cancer.
When Grand first visited the doctor for the lump on her neck, they recommended a chest x-ray, which revealed a spot on her left lung. This lead to a CT scan. Eight days later, she got one of the hardest phone calls that she had ever received. The doctor suspected cancer.
This lead to more doctor visits where tests revealed that the cancer had spread to her throat and groin. She was diagnosed with non-small cell adenocarcinoma, stage IV, and went to see a specialist.
The statistics for stage IV lung cancer were grim, but her doctor was quick to tell her that she was not a statistic and there was a clinical trial that had great potential. She immediately began the clinical trial and after just two months, her scans showed that the tumors had shrunk. After four years of the same treatment, much of the cancer had disappeared.
Then, four and a half years after her original diagnosis, she received disheartening news. The tumor on her lung had re-appeared. Fortunately, given her unique situation, she was now a candidate for surgery to remove the original tumor. She had the tumor removed is now living with no evidence of disease. Her doctors told her she was an anomaly because people with stage IV lung cancer typically remain on some type of treatment for their entire lives.
“I now have one and one quarter lung,” said Grand. “Although my breathing capacity is not what it used to be, I can still walk every morning, swim, play golf... my life is full and I am thriving.”
Now, 11 years after her diagnosis and following a miraculous recovery, she is teaming up with the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer research.
“I have to remind myself to live with mindfulness because this could turn around anytime,” said Grand. “I want to help raise funds for LUNG FORCE and have a fellowship with other people who face this disease. I want to offer hope that stage IV lung cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. I am not just surviving, I am thriving. I want my survivorship to mean something and LUNG FORCE is a wonderful way to do that. “
The LUNG FORCE Walk is a unique and festive fundraising event for the Lung Association. At the event, hundreds of local residents rally friends, neighbors, and colleagues to raise their voices against lung cancer and lung disease. Funds raised support research, advocacy and educational programs for the Lung Association in Michigan.
The Detroit LUNG FORCE Walk will be held at the Detroit Zoo on September 29. For more information on the event, or to register, visit the LUNG FORCE website.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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