"We have gotten your biopsy results and you have lung cancer." Those words came through the phone and hit me like a ton of bricks. Doubly so, since I had never smoked. But a little voice in the back of my head kept whispering, "It's not if you are going to beat this....It's when you beat it!"
As I would later learn, my cancer wasn't caused by any environmental or lifestyle factors, but caused by a genetic mutation to the ALK gene. And this genetic mutation doesn't wait and attack when you are older (55+), no it attacks people much younger, in their 40's, 30's and even 20's. And it attacks women more then men.
Since that late autumn day over 4 years ago, I have been in a war. A war where the battlefield isn't some far off land, but inside my body. A war fought not with guns and bombs, but with conventional weapons such as chemo and with sophisticated weapons such as TKI'S (medicine in a pill form that targets the specific genetic mutation).
Today, in just one day, lung cancer will kill approximately 453 people in the US alone. In the time it takes you to read this, another person will have died from lung cancer. More people die from lung cancer than the next 3 leading cancer killers combined (breast, colorectal and prostate). Yet for every one dollar invested in lung cancer research, the other three receive 20 times more. With that imbalance in research spending, its no wonder lung cancer is the leading cancer killer.
The ALK+ community has been fighting for more research money, including conducting their own grass roots fundraising that goes directly to research. Our goal is to raise $1 million to sponsor research projects conducted by some of the top researchers in the nation. Before any money is allocated, the research projects are thoroughly vetted by the most knowledgeable ALK+ lung cancer experts in the U.S. We have contributors who have agreed to match contributions up to $250,000 this month. Additionally, I am matching all contributions made on this page up to $10,000. With year end coming up, now is a good time to make a contribution that may be tax deductible (depending on your individual tax situation).
Please join me in this battle. We must win this war. My life, as well as you and your children's lives, could hang in the balance.