I’m Doing Something I NEVER Thought I’d Do

In a few hours I leave for Washington, D.C.  I’ve been to D.C. numerous times for various reasons, but this time it’s not so random.  I, along with other lung cancer advocates and patients from every state, will be in D.C. for the American Lung Association’s LUNGFORCE Advocacy Day. Wednesday, March 16, the other state reps and I will take to The Hill to meet with members of Congress to ask that they considering increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and to help expand efforts in lung cancer research and initiatives. lungforce logo

I can’t bring my mom back, but I can at least work to ensure that others don’t have to endure what our family endured. A couple of years ago I started volunteering with the local American Lung Association (ALA) in Birmingham and if it wasn’t for my friend Ashley Lylerly, who works for the ALA, I wouldn’t be going to D.C.  She was the one who submitted my name to serve as the state rep for Alabama.  I never thought that I would be doing something as serious as this…speaking to legislators about my mom.  I get to tell them about Lillie B. McCarter Conway from Independence, Louisiana. How cool is that?

Here’s the deal about lung cancer. Most times when lung cancer is discovered, it’s in very late stages. You can’t “feel” lung cancer, not in a traditional sense.  But right now there are researchers and scientists working to find ways to detect lung cancer earlier. But they can’t do that without the necessary funding and grant money.  Of course it’s more complicated than that, but the simple version is this: EVERYONE has been affected by cancer, whether it’s lung cancer or one of the other 200+ kinds of cancer that currently exists.   But on March 16, I get to speak to lawmakers about how LUNG CANCER affected my mom and our family.  The fact that she didn’t know she had lung cancer until she was Stage IV is more than just troubling, it’s sad and and unnecessary.  She was a tad better than most who are diagnosed at that stage in that she lived a longer than expected.  We have made many advancements in the lung cancer community since mom’s diagnosis in 2008 and her death in 2012.  Because of those advances in research, many lung cancer patients are living their lives and moving forward now when a few years ago that may not have been possible.   More money for research would also assist in determining why more young, non-smokers are getting lung cancer.  So many unanswered questions surround lung cancer as it relates to genetics, environment and a host of other issues.  We can only find the answers through research.  So, yeah, we need more money.

Mom - March '12

At mom’s last bday celebration, March 2012

I’m asking all of you for prayers as I travel to D.C. and as I prepare to speak to lawmakers one-on-one, Wednesday, March 16.  The best part about all of this?  Tuesday, March 15, mom would have been 72 years old.  A coincidence? I think not.  Somehow I think mom is sending me a message and letting me know that all is well.  And I know she’ll be with me.

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It’s November and I’m Sharing Info and Sharing Hope

Everyone who knows me, knows I’ll post about my Southern University Jaguars and my Dallas Cowboys and random stuff in-between on Facebook. And most of you will “like” my posts unless you dislike the Cowboys or Southern University (and in that case…I still love you…maybe.)

But this month I will be posting about lung cancer awareness and if you follow me on Facebook (and/or Twitter) I would appreciate it if you would “like”, “share” or “comment”.  See, here’s the deal…awareness to me is about sharing information that will save someone’s life. Awareness is making sure I provide information so that others don’t have to go through what we went through when my mom was diagnosed. Nov1_LCAM15

Many folks still think that smoking is the ONLY way you can get lung cancer. Wrong! Just ask Janet Freeman-Daily or Tori Tomalia, non-smokers who were just living life like the rest of us. We can’t keep ignoring lung cancer or ignoring those with lung cancer. They don’t deserve the stigma or the blame. We can’t keep saying “it won’t happen to me because I don’t smoke”. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. If you are on Twitter please follow me @louisianagirl91 or just follow ‪#‎LCAM15‬, for Lung Cancer Awareness Month 15. I can’t wait to share stories about regular people of all ages who have been affected by lung cancer.

We want everyone to learn something about lung cancer (and the symptoms) and we want and demand more money for research so we don’t have to keep doing this. Without research we can’t find or create new drugs (among other things) that help those like Janet and Tori. Y’all know if mom was here she would be all over this, but she’s not. But I am so I will.

I also plan to participate in this year’s #BlogLikeCrazy challenge.  And it’s exactly what it means…blog like crazy, posting every day in November. Since I have so many stories of encouragement and hope for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, this should be easy. Right?  Right.  I hope you’ll join me in this challenge or at least share some information for #LCAM15.