I am really happy to share my story – and really happy just to be here in this world. I’m not just happy – I’m lucky. So lucky to have been able to survive this devastating disease. When I was given my diagnosis of small cell lung cancer in August of 2006, I truly thought I’d be dead by Christmas. I had to ask someone else to tell my children and my parents – I was so fearful of their fear. Through my incredible physicians, caregivers, radiation therapists and drug developers – I was declared free of disease before Christmas after having been given the prognosis that I had maybe a 30% chance of long-term survival – which incidentally is better odds than most diagnosed with lung cancer. But I was angry – no one talked about lung cancer. So, I got involved in advocacy in my home state of Pennsylvania in a big way, founding the Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership as a state chapter of the National Lung Cancer partnership.
When I moved to San Diego from Philadelphia 5 years ago, I participated in every lung cancer walk that was held here, searching for the organization I could support. I found LungForce. Their mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease and their vision of a world free of lung disease resonated with me. With the long history and well-respected American Lung Association brand behind it, I felt my contributions truly belonged here. I believe LungForce will help fulfill my dream of a world in which patients diagnosed with lung cancer will find hope and a supportive community to help them through this journey and to fulfilling lives of their own.