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May Hero Spotlight - Jolene Hulson

  • May 20 2015

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    May Hero Spotlight - Jolene Hulson
    After Jolene Hulson lost a close friend and her brother to lung cancer, she was looking for ways to turn the all that emotion into a positive impact. Read about how the Action Summit connected her with other passionate advocates and provided the tools to take her own advocacy further than ever before.

    Sixteen years ago, I lost my close friend to lung cancer. In 2011, my own brother lost his battle with this disease. A friend of my sister-in-law told me about Free to Breathe, and it just so happened the first State College event was that fall of 2011. Myself, along with several family members, participated -- that is how I first became aware of the statistics on survival rates and funding for research. I became angry at the inequity, and asked if I could help with the next year's event.

    So began my journey on this road to fundraising and advocacy for lung cancer. I was so excited to be chosen to attend last year’s Lung Cancer Action Summit. I was pleased to see such a mix of attendees -- survivors, event chairs, families of loved ones and healthcare professionals. And it was very nice to get to meet, in person, the folks that we work with over the phone at Free to Breathe.

    What an experience to be in a room of so many people with the lung cancer cause as our common bond, witnessing the dedication of the researchers at Hillman Cancer Center and sharing in the hope lung cancer research gives -- together. Groundbreaking research is taking place right here in our backyard, and I got to come back and share this news locally as an advocate.

    Listening to the panel of doctors at the Summit expanded my knowledge about the diagnosis, prognosis and treatments for the disease. They gave me hope that we can and are making progress against lung cancer. But it was startling to hear the statistics on research funding, how few new physicians and researchers choose this as a profession for that reason, and even more saddening that many that do are giving up due to lack of funds. 

    The Summit made me more committed to work harder as an advocate, and help build awareness of the research and need for funding. I left with new ideas for fundraising, a strategic plan for our State College event, as well as advocacy tools that I will use to reach out to the cancer centers in our region. One of our committee's post-Summit achievements was getting the borough of State College and Bellefonte to proclaim the month of November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

    The loss of my brother has forever changed my family's life and not a day goes by without thoughts of him. Through the Summit, I have been even more inspired to advocate, educate and inform the people of my valley, and possibly beyond.


    You can join us at the 2015 Lung Cancer Action Summit!

    Lung Cancer Action Summit: Empowering Lung Cancer Heroes

    September 17-20, 2015 • NYC Metro Area
    Lodging & most meals provided. 
    Some travel scholarships available to cover transportation expenses.

    Join other lung cancer survivors, patients, healthcare professionals, family and friends as you learn how to bring the lung cancer movement to your community. It's a truly life-changing weekend! Learn more and apply at freetobreathe.org/summit

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