I have been a lung cancer advocate for three years after losing my sister Kimberley, a non-smoker, to Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in July 2020. When she first started experiencing symptoms, Kimberley was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma. However, it wasn’t until the cancer had metastasized to her liver, brain, and bones that she would get diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
Her 5-year battle would consist of numerous doctor visits, medical procedures, oxygen, inpatient hospital care, cyber knife, radiation, medications, surgeries, and insurance battles. The medications, research trials, and genetic testing was what gave her extended time and hope. It is hard to imagine but we cannot ignore the science or research. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. My sister became part of this statistic and that is why I continue to advocate for her and all the patients that still have a chance to fight this battle because of research for new targeted therapies, medication, and treatment options.
The of my sister illustrates how investments made by Congress have improved the outlook of those diagnosed with lung cancer. They also shine a spotlight on the critical need for further investments so those living with lung cancer today and in the future know they will have access to the best medical care possible, backed by the best science from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, at prices that they can afford, while research continues to provide hope to us all that one day we will live in a world free of cancer.
My sister didn’t fight alone and didn’t let lung cancer define her but rather defined lung cancer when she said, “Every breath is your gift of life, and you have to cherish it”.