My name is Richard Davis and I am a community health worker with Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals in Las Vegas.
Here at St. Rose I partner with the American Lung Association in Nevada to facilitate a monthly Better Breathers Club and a quarterly Freedom From Smoking Group Clinic. My mom, Willabeth Davis, died in July 2018 of lung cancer.
Though smoking isn't the only cause of lung cancer, Mom was a life-long smoker. She started when she was 16 when she eloped with my father. Although he quit in his 30s, Mom kept on smoking. Mom finally quit when she rededicated her life to her Seventh-Day Adventist faith. Adventists believe that physical health is just as important as spiritual health. Here in Las Vegas, the Adventist Church has hosted the Freedom From Smoking program for the community.
Thanks to the American Lung Association's advocacy, my mom's doctor recommended a low dose CT scan for early detection of lung cancer, given Mom's smoking history. Sadly, the results were positive and Mom's general poor health meant that only palliative care was recommended. I was able to be with Mom during the last week of her life. My sister-in-law, Julie Hicks, was at Mom's side every day for the final months of her life. Now Julie's own mom has been diagnosed with lung cancer. We also lost Mom's oldest brother, Uncle Jim Lutz, to this terrible disease.
There have been too many deaths to lung cancer. We must stop it. We can stop it. We will stop it.