My life changed forever when I found out I had lung cancer. At the time, I was attending Wake Forest University for an MBA. Upon learning the news of my diagnosis, I immediately withdrew from the MBA program to undergo surgery to remove two-thirds of my right lung, followed by chemotherapy.
I am very fortunate to call myself a survivor today. Since my diagnosis in 2005, more than 1.5 million people have died from lung cancer in the U.S. I often feel as if I walked away from a plane crash. And as someone with new purpose, I’ve made it my mission to help others facing this devastating disease and started my own nonprofit to do just that.
Many are surprised to hear that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women, and that it receives the least amount of federally funded research of any major cancer. Just as troubling, countless women lack access to important screening tools that could catch this terrible disease early, when it’s easiest to treat and offers the best hope for a cure.
That’s why I’m so focused on spreading awareness about and increasing access to screenings for women across the country. I won’t stop until the day that no one has to hear the words “you have lung cancer.”