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Tawny F.

A non-smoker and not exposed to second-hand-smoke, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer on Sept. 11, 2012. She had an upper lobectomy and underwent chemotherapy and radiation and was declared cancer-free by June of 2013. Our entire family was thrilled!

By October of 2013, her cancer had returned and she started chemotherapy again. On May 3, 2014, my courageous, beautiful mom gained her angel wings. I had the blessing of being right by her side, in her bed with her, when she took her last breath. She brought me into this world, and I held her as she left this world. Cancer sucks - it's not fair - it doesn't discriminate. My mom was the picture of health - she did everything right - she ate well, she was in great shape (walked daily, practiced yoga multiple times a week), and enjoyed her life as a wife, mother and grandmother. She loved to travel. She volunteered reading with children who's first language wasn't English. She spoiled me, her only child. She really spoiled her grandchildren. She was there whenever I needed her. I lost her when I was 38, she was 62, her grandchildren were 8 and 10.

Cancer robbed me of my mom, my children of their grandmother, my dad of his wife, and my grandparents of their daughter. These reasons, among many, many others, are why I'm on the leadership board of the American Lung Association in Oregon. She is why I raise funds for lung cancer research each year by participating in the Stair Climb in Portland, Oregon.

She is why I will never stop advocating for lung cancer research as long as I live. She is why I'm here and why I am as strong as I am, and why I fight.

First published: October 3, 2017

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