Today’s guest blog comes to us from Lorraine Sieminski RN, BSN, OCN, a lung program nurse coordinator with a specialty in lung cancer.
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all. - Emily Dickenson
As a nurse in the field of oncology for the past 23 years, my goal every day is to offer support and hope to my patients. When I discovered Shine a Light on Lung Cancer upon my move to Wilmington, NC to work for New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC), I was so pleased to find an event to help me do just that. Shine a Light is a nationwide event bringing lung cancer survivors and loved ones together to share stories, offer support and unite in the fight against this terrible disease.
I first found out about the event from a friend who simply suggested the event might be worth looking into for 2016, since it was already September. At the time, I don’t think she realized who she was talking to; when I have an idea, I make it happen.
I immediately put the “wheels in motion,” calling Lung Cancer Alliance for my tool kit, confirming speakers, solidifying the program and spreading the word to the community. With the support of the hospital’s media team, putting letters together, newspaper ads and even radio blasts, we put the event together in a little over a month.
Our Shine a Light took place during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in the hospital’s auditorium. It went off without a hitch with approximately 75 people in attendance. We were fortunate to lock down some amazing speakers, including Dr. Michael Nichols, Radiation Oncologist and Dr. Christian Lloyd, Pulmonologist who spoke about advancements in lung cancer treatment and research, as well as three survivors who brought hope and inspiration to those currently battling the disease.
The highpoint of the event was a moment of silence in remembrance and honor of all those touched by the disease, when the lights went off, flashlights lit up and a talented volunteer played “Amazing Grace” on his hand-whittled flute. In that space, we were united as one force of hope.
The love and support that filled the night was palpable. We received an outpouring of positive feedback from patients and their families. I look forward to making this an annual event and am grateful to Lung Cancer Alliance and Eli Lilly for giving me this wonderful opportunity to bring hope to those who need it most.