Have you or a loved one lived with lung cancer? If so you may be both shocked and saddened at the discrepancies in funding and research for lung cancer. You may also have wondered if there is any way that you - just one person - could make a difference.
First, so you know what we're up against, I'll just lay out a few statistics :
- Lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer (it bypassed breast cancer as the leading cause in 1987) - and 20% of these women have never touched a cigarette.
- Federal funding adds up to almost $25,000 per breast cancer death. For lung cancer that number is less than $2,000. If you have seen more cancer ribbons that are pink than white, you can probably guess that private funding for lung cancer lags behind as well.
- Lung cancer kills more people in the U.S. than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined.
- 1 in 14 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer.
- The overall 5-year survival rate for all stages of lung cancer combined is just over 15%.
- The majority of people who develop lung cancer now in 2013 are either non-smokers or former smokers.
It may seem overwhelming. I know I've been stopped in my tracks in the past when something seems so big and insurmountable. But one person can make a difference. Here are a few quick examples:
- Bonnie Addario - a stage 3B lung cancer survivor began the BonnieJ. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation which has raised over 10 million dollars for lung cancer, and sponsors the Lung Cancer Living Room - a monthly support group that you can attend personally in California, or on the web from anywhere.
- Jill Costello - who lost her battle with stage 4 lung cancer at the young age of 22, but left behind a foundation that continues to grow and raise awareness among young people.
That said, it's often the small things that matter the most - things that nearly all of us can do. Perhaps it's only asking if you can leave lung cancer pamphlets at your doctor's office. For some of you, it may just be praying from your couch, and maybe sharing a few of these statistics with a friend or two. The point is, all of those little things add up. Breast cancer didn't get the attention it does without many people doing little things to help.
Knowing that every person can make a difference, how do you get started? You don't have to be lobbyist or have a degree in medicine or marketing, but a few tools in your pocket can help. And best of all, you can get those tools and hear about what others have done to make a difference, all the time while being fed most meals and given a nice hotel room for 3 days for free.
How? Apply to attend the 6th annual National Lung Cancer Partnership!
The event website: - 2013 National Lung Cancer Partnership Summit - Tools for Change
The dates: - September 19-22, 2013
The location: - Dallas, Tx
How to apply: - Fill out the Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit Application
Application deadline: - June 24, 2013. Advocates will be notified of decisions by July 22, 2013. Participation is limited to 75 applicants to maximize constructive interaction.
What will happen at the summit? Survivors, patients, family and friends of those with lung cancer will have 3 passion-packed days of learning, networking, and celebrating. Some of the activities will include:
- Learning how to reduce the stigma of lung cancer
- Learning how to educate your community about lung cancer
- Becoming aware of opportunities to get involved
- Learning how to craft your awareness message to inspire change
- Meeting with some of the researchers who are devoting their lives to finding cures for lung cancer
If you are interested in learning about past summits, or wish to download training materials from those summits, check these out:
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend this summit in Denver in 2011. One of the highlights was writing a letter to ourselves at the end of the conference that was mailed to us one year later. Someday I'll share what I wrote, but, for now, I'll share that reading that letter helped tremendously both to encourage me in the efforts I had made to raise awareness, and fuel me to do more. Reading what others have done on the alumni facebook page, I can attest that even one person - because I've seen it with my own eyes - can make a big difference. I can't wait to hear the passion to make a difference from those of you who attend this year. Don't miss the deadline!