Words from Avery…
“Kim is the first person I know with Lung Cancer. Before her, I hadn’t really given any thought to the fact that lung cancer happens to healthy non-smokers at any age. I can say that I do think about it now, and I know it could happen to me, a loved one, or another friend.
At work this past month my office, like many others, was flooded with men in various states of fuzz – growing for the Movember phenomenon. Our department went all out, a growing contest with trophies, moustache shaped tattoos for the ladies and of course moustache cookies. All of this for a great cause, raising awareness and money for prostate cancer research.
The cynic in me wanted to stand up in the middle of all of it and shout “Actually, it’s Lung Cancer awareness month! Lung Cancer kills three times as many men as prostate cancer. It’s also the nation’s leading cause of cancer death, but lags behind other cancers in awareness and funding for research!”
Kim talked me down from that ledge by saying that yes, November is also Lung Cancer awareness month but all cancers need as much support as they can get. But it’s Lung Cancer that is near to me and my friends. Right now, it’s the cancer that I care about.
After this diagnosis hit Kim and our close circle of friends, I personally became motivated to plan for my future in a different way. Did I have the best coverage on my health insurance? My financial house in the best shape it could be? I asked myself, “What if this happened to me? “ Could I manage? Would I be in the best position I could be to fight? I asked myself what would I do if I my life was on an unknown timeline, and why am I not doing those things now? These things changed me, but Lung Cancer changed Kim in a way I wasn’t able to fully understand, what could I do to help? Yes, there were immediate things like bringing dinner during intense radiation and chemotherapy, visiting and continuing to be a friend; and there was something that wasn’t quite as obvious… becoming truly aware of cancer.
I feel far more educated about cancer now than I did before. I know it touches everyone, somehow and in many different ways. Before Kim’s diagnosis, I glanced over the articles in the news, just signed up for the run/walk or cancer cause of the moment. It’s different now; I read the articles, look up the companies, learn the facts on the fundraisers and do what I can to make comments on the Cancer cause.
Before, it didn’t seem like much – but now I see these things differently, as important commentary for everyone to hear. They are important because they grow awareness and connect us to each other. We may be the ones without cancer, but we will know someone who will know someone, who will need to hear about it. Cancer, including Lung cancer, will be aided not only by those who tell the stories of their diagnosis or their survival, but also by the efforts of those who are truly aware of it…and share it.