Help me improve lung cancer outcomes!
Cancer’s cruelty knows no bounds. In today’s world, it’s hard to find anyone who’s life hasn’t been affected by cancer. It can be in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and in the sun that feels so good on our skin. You may have it, or maybe a loved one has it. Cancer doesn’t care if you are a good person or bad person: it will strike, regardless of who you are, or what lifestyle you have. We are all vulnerable to cancer's pervasive lunge, and we all deserve to have the unconditional love, care and support to fight it.
So, here is my short, impromptu speech about lung cancer and why I feel especially passionate about raising funds to help fight it. There are so many stigmas that are attached to how one develops it, and ill-informed beliefs that it was “self -inflicted” or that it could have been avoided. We hear “Too bad she didn’t quit smoking sooner.” Or, “I never knew you were a smoker?” Unfortunately this bias is not just the public’s perception, but it’s also present in medical offices and affects government funding as well. Lung cancer is tacitly denounced, and regarded a little more quietly than other diseases, yet twice as many women die from lung cancer in the United States each year, as those who die from breast cancer, and many of these women have never touched a cigarette!
Crazy right? For those who smoked and got lung cancer...why do we have to attach a stigma to them at all? We are all one. We all deserve to be loved and cared for despite the life style choices we make, good or bad. Everyone deserves proper treatment and patient care when fighting this ugly battle against cancer of any kind.
So here I am again, as for the last 13 years, fundraising to find an end to all this sucky cancer business. This year I am participating in Madison’s Free To Breath Challenge to raise funds for Lung Cancer Research in honor of two great women: Donna Linderman, who lost her brave battle with Lung Cancer (She was not a smoker). And my very own sister, who is a recent survivor. She was diagnosed with a fast spreading Oral cancer ( thankfully she had surgery on her tongue to remove it before it spread to her lymph nodes and is doing fine). She didn’t smoke and she definitely didn’t chew tobacco, yet she too, was judged because of the stigma that surrounded her type of cancer. This is not good: to get cancer AND be forsaken for it. Life is hard enough.
So, lets love more, judge less, fight harder to end all suffering because no one should feel alone in their battle, what ever it may be. Please join my efforts to raise money for Lung Cancer (which ultimately helps all types of cancers) and help me raise awareness of other stigmatized diseases. Everyone deserves the freedom to breathe, to be deeply loved, and deeply cared for when they are fighting for their lives. Thank you all for your continued support over the years.
Laura Johnston Voegeli
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