The sad truth about working in Lung Cancer Advocacy is that sometimes your fellow survivors run out of time. It is always devastating, it never gets easier, and it is easily the worst part of dedicating your life to an unforgiving disease.
Last week we had a tragic death in our Lung Cancer community. I believe I can speak for all when I say it rocked us to our core. Elizabeth Dessureault was taken way too soon. Elizabeth was 27 years old, a young mother, teacher, and fearless advocate. Her blog was a fascinating read, crafted with the utmost optimism. If anyone could put a spin on news, it was Elizabeth. I remember meeting her at the Hope Summit. It was brief, but so meaningful. It is not everyday that you see someone else who is around your age at this summit, I was thrilled when I noticed her survivor tag when she sat down at a table across from me. I tried to get up the nerve to speak to her the entire first day, but what do you say, “Hey, I also got dealt a shitty card, want to be weird Cancer friends?” Thankfully we were introduced to each other and spoke briefly about our situations. I remember sitting thinking, this girl is the real deal. A full shop selling Lung Cancer merchandise with profits going back to research, an award winning blog, and a ridiculous amount of knowledge of her disease and course of treatment. If anyone was taking control of her destiny, it was Elizabeth. We talked about my Lung Removal, and how she wanted her Lung removed as well to get rid of a tumor that was not shrinking with her targeted therapy. We talked about her desire to get treatment in Boston or NYC, and who to contact, and we talked about what its like to be young and in a terrible situation.
I thought of Elizabeth often. I kept up with her blog and Facebook posts. I regret deeply that I never reached out to let her know how inspiring I found all her advocacy work. She leaves behind a beautiful family and legacy. May she rest in peace.
If you find yourself with a spare moment please give her blog a read: https://fromlizzieslungs.com
I continue now to fight with even more vigor. Lung Cancer needs more funding. It needs more research. And we need to make that happen. If you’re feeling inspired click this link and donate to Lungevity. https://lungevity.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.general
Together we can see a world where no one dies of Lung Cancer.