It’s November. Nearly. It will be in just a few hours. So, finally, Pinktober ends. And Lung Cancer Awareness month begins. I’m afraid we won’t see a flood of white ribbons everywhere. For the most part, people just don’t really care about lung cancer. Which seems pretty weird to me since so many people will someday get that diagnosis themselves (or watch a loved one go through it).
Sooooooo, this is a month when I will once again flood my Facebook account with information about lung cancer. The general public may be ill-informed, but I can assure you, my friends should be well aware that the only thing it takes to get lung cancer is lungs.
It seems that every year I find ways to get a little more involved in awareness and advocacy. And, I’m really enjoying the role. I’m finding myself seeking out more and more ways to get the word out, besides what I do on Facebook. I think what I do on Facebook is not all that effective. Most people, I think, just scroll past my posts that have to do with cancer.
The month and Lung Cancer Awareness begins with a walk at River Legacy Park in Arlington, TX, on November 1. It was a cool and cloudy day. There wasn’t as large a crowd as I would have liked to see, but the ones who were there had a great time, I think.
Of course, the event was organized to raise money for lung cancer research. The goal for the event was only $45,000. But, we didn’t meet that. Not even close. We were able to raise a mere $23,712.95. Who gave 95 cents???
I don’t know how hard everyone else tried to get their friends and colleagues to donate. I worked hard for the $1,420 I finally managed to raise. I even enlisted the help of Cotton and Barney, thinking maybe they could reach my dog friends when I couldn’t. Didn’t work. No one even bothered to watch their video.
I got my feelings hurt when people didn’t respond to my pleas. I took it very personally. On the other hand, I was beyond touched by donations I got. They were mostly given by people I really didn’t expect to contribute. Just as NOT getting donations from people I thought would support me broke my heart, the contributions I got put a big smile on my face and song in my heart. Truly.
I can honestly say, I’m glad the fundraising is over with for awhile! I am obviously not very good at it and it puts me on too many ups and downs.
So, with that said, the event was a lot of fun. There were bounce houses, a DJ, lots of picture taking, and some dancing! Oh yeah! And a 1.2 mile walk or 5K run.
|Lung cancer survivors, supporters and caregivers KNOW how to have some fun!!!|
It is hard to believe that I only met the ladies in the picture below at last year’s event:
How I love them. Sherry (in the middle) is young and was athletic. Not a smoker. She’s missing part of a lung. The two of us started the team for this year. We named it Hope & Giggles because we have a ton of hope and we love, love, love to laugh and giggle! Her mom, Susan, in the blue shirt, is one of the best supporters ever.
Gail is a 27-year survivor of cancer. She’s had breast, thyroid and lung cancer during those years. You’ll never met a person with more heart or joy for life.
It was wonderful to see them at the event again this year. If you look closely, you’ll see Katie Brown photobombing Susan, Sherry, and Gail! Katie is responsible for the fact that there is a walk. She began them after her dad passed away from lung cancer. We lung cancer survivors are especially lucky to have her in our corner. She is a tireless worker and advocate.
My friends, Cathy and Courtney Kuebler, joined us on the walk. It meant the world to me that they were willing to give up their Sunday to come to Arlington (not a short trip for either) and spend it on the walk with me. They are beautiful inside and out and I am so proud to call them friends.
My mom decided that she wanted to support me with her presence. She asked me if I thought she could make the walk. Well, I honestly didn’t know for sure, but figured we could give it a try. If she found she couldn’t make it, we’d figure out how to get her back to the car.
Mom hates this picture. She thinks it makes her look likes she’s 105. I don’t think so. I think she looks beautiful and younger than her 85 years.
She enjoyed coming and meeting all of my friends. And yes, she made that 1.2 mile walk with no problems at all!
Smiles. Smiles Everywhere.
You know, when I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn’t think I wanted to be around others with cancer. I’ve never been particularly depressed or sad or down-trodden by my diagnosis, but I assumed I was an exception. I’ve found out that I was wrong. Way wrong.
|Sherry and I pretended we had run the course and won!! (We HAD finished the 1.2 mile walk, but we pretended we had done more!) Notice the smiles. They’re not fake or contrived. These are two lung cancer survivors living and loving life.|
|Gail (27 years), Donna (3 years), Tom(11 years), Sherry (1 year), and Susan … 4 survivors and an awesome mom. Plenty of smiles!|
|This picture was taken by Katie or Hunter Brown of some of the cancer survivors who came to the walk. We are loving life and one another.|
As The Month Progresses
I will be trying to find ways to get the word out that lung cancer hits people with lungs, not just smokers.
On November 7, there is a workshop/conference for lung cancer survivors that some of my friends and I will be attending. It is a great time to get together and possibly we’ll find new ways to get involved while we’re there.
On November 21, I’ll be at the Dr Pepper Starcenter in Plano at a Free Skate. I really don’t know much about the whole thing just yet, but I’ll be handing out literature and talking to others about lung cancer.
If I can get myself in gear, I’ll try to write some letters to the editor or articles for online publications or something. I have a blog to write this week for another group. It is to deal with advocating for yourself. Maybe it will get my creative juices flowing!!! 🙂
So … here we go … I hope I don’t lose any friends over my advocacy this month. I guess if anyone unfriends me, they weren’t friends to start with.
In case you don’t know yet: