This guest blog post was originally published on PACE Network USA's blog.
Carly Hamburger MPH, is the manager of adult lung health education at the American Lung Association and a strong advocate for lung cancer support. In its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives, improve lung health and prevent lung disease. The American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy.
Lung cancer is a disease that is near and dear to my heart (no pun intended). My grandmother died from lung cancer and my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. I am going to be honest, I struggled quite a bit with my father's lung cancer diagnosis. When he was diagnosed, I was flooded with so many mixed emotions. Of course sadness and fear but also anger. But I quickly realized my anger was not helping anything. My father still needed my support, my love and my encouragement. What he didn't need was my blame or guilt. And no one, no matter what they are facing, needs that. Of course after the initial shock it was easy to go into caring mode and once I was there, I never looked back. No one deserves this disease and every person deserves support while fighting it.
In July 2012, I began working at the American Lung Association on a very special support website for people who were going through the same thing my family went through: Facing Lung Cancer: Support from Day One. This website is a true comprehensive support resource for those facing lung cancer.
I am also excited about the Lung Association’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month Campaign on this site which encourages people to share their lung cancer story. These heartfelt, hopeful and honest stories went live on November 1st.
So why is it important to collect lung cancer stories? Several reasons.
When you share your lung cancer story, you give others permission to do the same. By talking about your lung cancer experience, you help build awareness and reduce stigma around the disease, and provide a sense of reassurance and inspiration to other people facing lung cancer.
You help build our army of advocates. Lung cancer is underfunded, despite being the number one cancer killer. When you share your story, you speak for the thousands of people fighting lung cancer and bring much needed attention to the disease.
My dad went through treatment and has had clean scans ever since. I don't doubt for one moment that the support from our family, friends, neighbors and even strangers he met along the way helped him achieve a positive outcome. If you are facing lung cancer, don't be afraid to speak up about your disease. The more attention we give to this disease, the more support we will get and we will get one step closer to beating lung cancer.
It’s not too late to share your story! Share your story and see the other inspiring stories here .