This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

  • Share this page:


Kari P.

My name is Kari. Lung cancer came into my life when I was about 25. My grandmother had it and passed away about six months after diagnosis. It didn't really affect me, I was young, I had a new baby. So, my focus was him. My mom and her sisters took care of grandma.

About eight years later, it hit home for me. My mom, best friend and grandmother to my children, was diagnosed with lung cancer in Nov 2006. This time, it really hit me. I also had a cousin who had fought and was in remission of lung cancer at the time. After having chemo and radiation for about 3-4 months, mom refused the brain radiation. She decided being sick was not what she wanted and chemo was the only thing to give her "more time".

She decided to live what time she had, feeling good and doing what she wanted. She spent the summer traveling and visiting distant family. In the summer she began having signs of brain mets. I am a nurse, so I noticed this quickly. We had a scan done and, sure enough, several lesions. We started Hospice care and in August of 2007, my cousin passed away from complications of surgery she had for a broken hip while again on chemo for her returned lung cancer. Watching my mom visit her knowing that one day soon, she was going to go too.

In early October, she began declining and unable to communicate. Over two weeks, I watched my mom go from sitting up and talking to me, to laying in a hospital bed in her living room, suffering in pain and anxiety of dying. She was on so many medications and nothing stopped her from repetitive movement sitting up and down in bed unable to calm her. For two weeks she did this. At this point we were giving her Morphine every two hours. You know, this is not just for pain, it's to help them pass easier. Well, all I could do was pray to God that he take her. She finally passed on Oct. 25, 2007 while I lay in bed with her holding on as long as I could.

This was not that long ago, and even then where we are, the options for treatment were very little. My mom didn't have a chance. I am a firm believer that our community has some issues and causes of lung cancer and other cancers. My goal is to help bring awareness to the community that this is not just a smoking disease, but environmental also and we need to step up and speak out to stop it.

First published: March 6, 2017

  Share this story:
Tell your story View all stories Donate

American Lung Association is solely responsible for content.

Hero stories are the point of view of the Hero and not necessarily the American Lung Association. The Lung Association does not endorse any specific provider, facility or treatment.


Donate to LUNG FORCE

Get Involved


Events Near Me

Lung Health Barometer


Sponsors & Supporters


Sign up for updates

Get the latest news and information on the fight against lung cancer and for lung health.

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.