Sarah R

Sarah R., AZ

In November of 2018 my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to her brain. As a Respiratory Therapist I have worked for over a decade with a variety of patients, many of whom have a cancer diagnosis, and lung cancer is considered the #1 cancer killer of both men and women. Therefore, when we were given the news of the diagnosis my heart dropped and I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach. During this time, her pulmonologist had sent the samples of the tumor that he obtained during her bronchoscopy to be tested for genomic biomarkers. When her test results came back, her oncologist called her at home and told her that her tumor was ALK positive and there was a drug specific to her type of cancer that had shown tremendous results. 

It is now March of 2024, and my mom has surpassed the 5 year mark since her diagnosis. Her treatment has included 10 rounds of whole brain radiation and a chemotherapy pill she must take on a daily basis for the rest of her life. She has since retired from her job and lives a comfortable life in New Mexico. She sees her oncologist on a regular basis and has routine CT scans to monitor the cancer for growth. She has memory issues and deals with chronic fatigue. She will never be cured. However with the treatment she has received, the cancer remains in remission.

We are so grateful to have our mom with us still. If it were not for the dedicated individuals and organizations such as the American Lung Association who have given so much and worked tirelessly she may not be here. Our goal now is to give back by telling her story, and advocating for further research and improved screening. Along with this, my hope is that her story provides comfort to individuals and families who are faced with this disease and puts a name and face of a person who has been saved with the research and support provided by so many. In the spirit of continuing support,  I am asking congress to increase funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Health Institute for fiscal year 2025.

Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 07, 2024
Asthma Basics Workshop - National
, | May 15, 2024