I am a 55 year old mother of two beautiful girls and wife to the love of my life. On March 5, 2014, my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with stage IV non- small cell lung cancer. I didn’t have any symptoms and my diagnosis was an incidental finding from another routine test. It (my diagnosis) came as quite a shock because I was a healthy, active person who enjoyed running, skiing and hiking, and never smoked.
My tumor was tested and it came back positive for a mutation. This is when mutations are good. In fact, when one of my doctors found out about my mutation, she came into my office with the results in her hand, jumping up and down, almost in tears, saying “This changes everything!!” And she was right. My tumor came back ALK positive meaning I could benefit from targeted therapy. The targeted therapy was an ALK inhibitor called Crizotinib. I have been on Crizotinib since April 2014. The drug has allowed me to live a relatively normal life. I experience some side effects, but nothing that isn’t manageable. Because of the continued research and development in lung cancer, I am confident that one day lung cancer will become more like a chronic disease rather than the death sentence it was once perceived to be. This cannot happen unless lung cancer gets the global support and funding needed to continue the research necessary to find a cure.
I feel honored to represent Team Draft’s initiative, A Survivor at Every Stadium, to show the public that I am the face of stage IV lung cancer. I want to eliminate the stigma of lung cancer and to educate the public that anyone can get lung cancer; even folks like me who never smoked. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. Please support Team Draft as it tries to raise awareness and change the face of lung cancer.
In 2012, we, Team Draft, launched our inaugural Survivor at Every Stadium initiative on CNN during a nationally-televised prime time special focusing on lung cancer and our National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer.
Leveraging our connections with the NFL, its teams and players and our relationships with many of the top cancer centers in the country, As part of our National Campaign, this celebration of survivorship raises lung cancer awareness, gives hope to those battling the disease, and shines a light on the important work being done at cancer research and treatment centers around the country.
Team Draft’s goals are to create a unique experience for participating survivors and to raise awareness on a local, national, and international level by using each game and each survivor’s story to weave a broader narrative about the state of cancer and the hope that now exists for those battling the disease.
Special thanks to the Denver Broncos, CU Cancer Center, Dr. Ross Camidge and our Team Draft supporters for helping make this experience possible.
Donate now to Support the National Campaign to Change the Face of Lung Cancer!