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Dawn L

In 2013, my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Unfortunately, it was caught at a very late stage, but even so, my sister and I stood up to lung cancer, and we let Mom know that she was not fighting this alone.

Lung cancer was not familiar to us, before Mom's diagnosis. Once I started delving into researching it, I was so taken aback at the lack of lung cancer awareness and support groups. There was a serious stigma attached to my Mom's diagnosis and one oncologist that she met with, early on, was really unprofessional in the way he dealt with her (he was aware that she was a smoker). His words cut like a jagged knife. I don't want anyone else to ever feel what we felt that day.

Truth be told, I was not involved with lung cancer awareness, walks, etc... before my Mom's diagnosis. But, after it, when I learned how my voice could resonate, I made myself (and Mom) a promise to stay involved and make sure I'm heard. That WE'RE heard. Your voice and your actions can make a difference.

I've had friends contact me, when a loved one has been diagnosed. Not because I'm an expert, but because I've been there and I know what it means to have that support - to empathize.

My wish is for all lung cancer fighters to know that they have the support they need, to not give up, to stay encouraged, and stay the course. You are NOT your diagnosis. Don't let anyone steal your hope. Don't let anyone call you a statistic.

First published: December 5, 2016

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