2017 has been my most successful year of advocacy yet. From walks, to speaking engagements, to marches, to filming commercials, and awards I have not stopped talking about Lung Cancer. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
I want to spend a few moments recapping my last few humbling and incredible months.
To kick of Lung Cancer Awareness Month I participated in the Breathe Deep NYC walk on October 28th. Amanda’s Army raised over $2,000 for Lung Cancer Research and we had over 20 people join my team (and 2 VERY good pups!). It was a wonderful day filled with laughter, a few tears, lots of love, and even more HOPE.
A few weeks prior I was honored to participate in Lungevity’s new ad campaign “Inhale for Life”. I was lucky enough to see myself on the “big screen” in Times Square. Times Square has more than 355,000 people visit each day. Since 1 out 17 people will be diagnosed with Lung Cancer, I’d say we are reaching a pretty incredible audience with this commercial. Congratulations Lungevity!
And finally as some of you know I had the extreme privilege of being awarded the Face of Hope Award from Lungevity. On November 2nd, I stood in front of a group of scientists, doctors, survivors, philanthropists and my closest friends and family and accepted an achievement award for excellence in advocacy. I am humbled beyond belief.
Now that is more than enough about me. Because the truth is while I got to do all this, my friends continue to die. I am beyond devastated to say that one of my dear young fellow survivors ran out of time just a few days ago. John Cherol should be remembered and cherished as one of the smartest, tenacious, bravest men I’ve ever met. And his wife Kristine should go down in history as the most incredible caregiver ever. My heart breaks for them. And while I can celebrate all I want about my fantastic year, the truth is, its not good enough. We haven’t done enough. We need more funds, more research, more survivors.
John, you touched me in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’ve thought of our young survivor dinner and silly banter nonstop for the past year. It is heartbreaking that we won’t get to go around saying “Fuck Cancer” together for 75 more years.
Kristine, thank you for tirelessly advocating for your husband and for Lung Cancer. I feel privileged to know you, and all who have met you can say the same thing, this did not go down without one hell of a fight.
I end this post saying this. I am proud of myself, my friends, my fellow survivors, my doctors, scientists, researchers, and all those who touched Lung Cancer in some way this year. Lets keep going next, but for John lets go harder, and better, and more ferociously. Oh and FUCK CANCER.