Four years ago, after Mike Smith found out that he had a mass on his right lung that could be cancerous, he was bombarded with questions about his smoking history, however, he never smoked. This Saturday, he is speaking at the LUNG FORCE Turquoise Tasting to educate the public that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.
In the summer of 2016, Smith was working in his backyard and experienced what he thought was an asthma event. He took his inhaler, but it failed to give him relief. He knew something was wrong but put off visiting to the doctor.
“Then I woke up with severe chest pains in the middle of the night. It felt like I was having a heart attack. That was when I really moved forward in finding out what was going on with me,” said Smith.
Smith switched doctors and went over his full medical history with them. One night, he received a call from the doctor.
“When you get a call from your doctor at 8 p.m. at night it is probably not good news,” he said. “Preliminary analysis showed that there was a mass on my right lung. The doctors didn’t know what it was then but knew that it could be cancer. That is when I got bombarded with questions like, ‘Did you smoke?’ But I never smoked.”
Smith underwent radiation, a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor and has had three targeted therapies to treat his lung cancer.
“The American Lung Association and its research funding has benefitted me by being able to survive. It has been a miracle for me. I feel normal and I work out every day at the gym. I live a regular everyday life,” he said.
Through this experience, he has learned a lot about lung cancer, and now strives to pay it forward to help other people who are recently diagnosed with the disease. He became a LUNG FORCE Hero and joined the Lung Association’s Local Leadership Board. He is also sharing his story at the LUNG FORCE Turquoise Tasting presented by Novant Health on September 26.
“I believe in being a lung cancer advocate, because if you don’t advocate for yourself, who is going to advocate for you? The American Lung Association is a great platform for self-advocacy and helping others,” said Smith. ”My most important message is that lung cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, White, Asian, Caucasian, smoker, non-smoker, or whatever, if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. If you are experiencing any lung health concerns, contact your doctor.”
The LUNG FORCE Turquoise Tasting presented by Novant Health is on Saturday, September 26. The event will include a live wine tasting, local gourmet food from Rare Roots Hospitality, $1,000 Diamonds Direct raffle and silent auction to raise money for critical lung cancer research. For tickets or more information about the event, visit CharlotteTurquoiseTasting.org.
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 education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. 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.