Awareness • Early Detection • Treatment • Research • Survivorship

The Halter Family is Tackling Lung Cancer

The Diagnosis: July 13, 2006

Caine Halter had been a natural athlete since childhood and led a healthy lifestyle; he also was a lifelong non-smoker. For several weeks, he had a deep cough and headache that he could not shake, and current medication was not helping. His doctor gave Caine a prescription for a new and stronger antibiotic. Shirley Halter, Caine’s mother, was in the hospital and had been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer only days earlier on July 11. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, Caine’s doctor also conducted a chest X-ray while he had him in his office. Caine received a call on his cell phone from his doctor before he even got to the pharmacy. His doctor told him the X-ray showed a mass on his lungs. Further tests were conducted and within a few days, Caine and his wife, Laurie, listened in disbelief as the doctor gave them the terrible diagnosis – lung cancer, Stage IV. As Caine was diagnosed as “non-smoker with stage IV NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) with brain and bone metastases,” his mother was brought home with hospice care. She passed
away one month later.

The Commitment to Fight

Caine’s strong faith and never-ending positive attitude had long been a big part of his life. It would be this amazing foundation upon which his battle with lung cancer unfolded. His courage would never waiver; his hope would not be diminished. Whether at MD Andersen for consults or at home fighting the day-today battle with the incredible team at CancerCenters of the Carolinas, Caine was 110% committed to win the fight. He felt strongly that with his determination, God’s help and the best medical teams, he could beat lung cancer and become his own statistic.

Aggressively approaching his treatments, Caine decided immediately on more promising, investigational therapies through clinical trials. The hidden benefit of helping advance research and potentially helping others in the future was not lost on him either. He hunkered down with his (now completely) bald head gleaming and ran head on into the vicious cycles of cancer treatment – chemo, radiation, scans… repeat.

And like many Stage IV lung cancer patients, Caine had moments of victory and moments of defeat.

Unfortunately, due to limited lung cancer research, his treatment options also became more limited. But throughout his illness, Caine had no bitterness and no despair. His calm faith in the midst of the storm inspired hope in thousands of friends, neighbors, business associates, and evenstrangers. Hundreds joined “Caine’s Army,” a group started by a close friend, which rallied around him and lifted him with ongoing prayers and support throughout his battle. Caine recognized that people were
his greatest blessing during his time of crisis.

Lung Cancer: The Reality

While buoyed by Caine’s hopeful and positive spirit, his family and friends were forced to watch his suffering increase week after week and to face the realities of the disease. Since his initial diagnosis, everyone around him had been learning everything they could about lung cancer. The facts were shocking – but with minimal public awareness:

• Lung cancer is still the #1 cancer killer of men and women in the US, yet it receives the
least research funding.
• Three out of five people diagnosed will die within 12 months.
• The disease is being diagnosed too late – as there is no proven early screening test.
• Approximately 25,000 new lung cancer diagnoses this year will be non-smokers.

Upset and wanting to help, his family decided to plan a run/walk event to drive both awareness and research funding. Thus, Lungs for Life was born. Caine was committed to the cause and had planned to participate in the race. However, he passed away August 10, 2007 and never received that chance.

The Hope

Caine celebrated life and approached everything — including his cancer — with incredible strength, amazing faith and remarkable grace. He was the loving father of teenagers, Caine Jr. and Page. He was completely devoted to his wife, Laurie, who was the love of his life. He was a loving son, caring brother and lifelong friend.

Caine realized each day was a gift, and he greeted it with joy and excitement. His tremendous heart, positive attitude and generous spirit guided him day by day. He taught us all lessons of hope by the way he lived his life and fought this battle. Caine’s courage will forever inspire us.

There IS hope in the fight against lung cancer!

Caine’s family and friends will honor his life by fighting back against lung cancer with passion and commitment. Through Caine Halter Lungs for Life, we will work to raise lung cancer awareness, fund critical research and provide greater hope to others in the future.