I want to grow old and experience all of the things that come with that. I look forward to the wrinkles, the pain, and the gray hair and they are accompanied with the hugs of my future grandchildren, the late night calls for advice from my children, the laughter of my friends and family, and the everyday breath of fresh air. However, all of these realities for most people are now in jeopardy for me.
In November 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. As a non-smoker leading a healthy and active lifestyle, I never imagined I would receive this devastating diagnosis. According to the statistics, 17% of people with lung cancer will survive 5 years. That means 83% will NOT survive 5 years. This is not what you want to hear when you still have 2 children in high school!
Genetic testing diagnosed me with a rare type of lung cancer marked by the genetic mutation called ALK. ALK+ is found in about 4% of lung cancers, particularly in nonsmokers and younger people. Because of this, I was able to be on a targeted therapy in the form of 8 pills a day, which had shrunk my tumors and kept them at stable levels. Unfortunately, after 2 years and 7 months this drug is no longer working and my cancer has progressed. After the next drug fails, there are currently no great options.
In order to extend my own life, I have to survive until new treatment therapies are developed to target ALK+ cancer. The most effective thing I can do is support the research and initiatives that bring new drugs closer to reality or explore ways to extend the time the current drugs are effective. This is my goal, but I need your help.
Will you help me and thousands of others with ALK+ Lung Cancer live to see old age?
Please join me in my efforts to help ALK patients influence the direction of research, advocacy, and awareness that will, one day, save their lives. I truly appreciate your support.