Get A Hobby.

For the past 4 months I have been surrounded by Lung Cancer in the best way. I was honored to speak at the Lungevity Hope Gala in DC. Doubly honored to attend the Lungevity Hope Summit the following weekend. Forced my entire book club to read “When Breath Becomes Air”. Helped throw a very successful cocktail party for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, and was asked to speak for a few moments to the young professionals who attended. And finally got the honor to participate in Lungevity’s 2016 Foundation Video. Here I am!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za8gv41QEtw

It’s been a pretty magical couple months.

 

What Advocacy Means To Me 

I am an advocate first because I am a voice for those who no longer have one. I can spew facts until I’m blue in the face and my one lung gives out, but the truth is sometimes it feels like it isn’t enough. Yes I am an eternal optimist. I do believe we can live in a world where no one dies of Lung Cancer. I believe that every Facebook post, every bracelet I give out, every time someone asks me if I smoked does change the world a bit. But until we get to a long term manageable disease we are still loosing our children, parents, grandparents, coworkers, and loved ones to this deadly disease. And its exhausting, frustrating, devastating, and makes me want to give up. So why do I do it? Why care? Why not just pack everything up and leave because I’m 26 and should be out at happy hour, not spending my evenings researching ALK mutations and targeted therapies for a friend, or emailing Novartis for donation for a fundraiser. I do it because it is my duty. I was given a second chance, and I’m not going to fail the universe.

 

The Climb of Your Life

If you have ever felt too small to make an impact, then you need to get out of your comfort zone. You don’t climb a mountain by standing at the bottom and trying to jump to the top. You climb. Advocacy is a climb. You make small obtainable goals. You try. So I’m continuing to climb. I will continue to raise money for organizations like Lungevity and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation because they are funding live saving research. I will continue to educate myself on new treatment methods, new targeted therapies, combination therapies, mutations, and surgeries to have educated and informed discussions with doctors, researchers, survivors, civilians, basically anyone who will listen. This is my hobby. It’s a little different… it’s not knitting or reading but it’s mine.

 

Lets Do This. 

The truth is together we can make a giant impact, but only if everyone puts in effort. Lung Cancer isn’t going to manage itself. It’s our job to fund the bright minds and convince them this is worth working on. Lung Cancer is worth eradicating. My peers are worth saving.

Consider donating to Lungevity today (https://www.lungevity.org). Or joining me in the Breathe Deep NYC walk this Fall, or some of my other super exciting New York based advocacy events that are brewing (more on that later!). But most importantly, educate yourself. Know the facts, the stats, the sad truths and start telling people. End the stigma, and lets start having open conversations on this deadly disease and change the future.

 

Photo © Tony Powell. 2017 LUNGevity Gala. Mellon Auditorium. April 21, 2017

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