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Turning Anger Into Action

  • June 28 2014

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    Turning Anger Into Action

    Glenna M. answers our questions about the Lung Cancer Action Summit and explains how the Summit gave her the tools to turn anger and frustration about lung cancer into action.


     How did you hear about the Summit, and why did you apply?

    I heard about the Summit  on the Free to Breathe website and in their newsletter.  When I read what the Summit was about and what issues it covered and training it provided,  I knew instantly I had to apply.  Most of the time I was the only member of a lung cancer support group, guided by social workers from two different hospitals.  We were totally frustrated over the inability to attract other lung cancer patients and survivors to the group.  It was my hope that what I leaned at the Summit would help us bring more survivors to the table for support.

    Describe your advocacy and fundraising efforts with Free to Breathe before and after the Summit.  What have been your major accomplishments?

    Prior to the Summit in Nashville, I had not fundraised for Free to Breathe.  I was still working through some post chemo issues and I did not have the spirit or know how to take up the effort.   I was at a loss as to where to begin.   I learned so much in Nashville and when I returned, I knew I had to put that knowledge to good use.  I enlisted the help of four very talented friends to help spread the word about lung cancer and to fundraise for research.  Our first effort was a cookbook, with recipe submissions from other survivors and those that had been touched by the disease.  The response to the book was overwhelming!  Most importantly, that success gave me the confidence to convince my team to bring Free to Breathe event to Portland.  I knew that was the next step and we could do it!

    What inspires you in your lung cancer advocacy efforts?

    I went to Nashville frustrated and angry over the continued high death rate and lack of research for lung cancer.  I came away educated and very hopeful.  We learned from a team of researchers at Vanderbilt that for the first time ever, there is progress in the fight, with new targeted therapies, immunotherapy and a screening tool for lung cancer that was previously non-existent.  We have a long way to go to double survival by the year 2022, but since my diagnosis in September of 2011, I am excited about the progress and effort underway in research and options for treatments. 

    What would you say to someone considering applying for the Summit:  What value did you get from the experience?

    For me personally it was awesome to be with a group of people that shared the same frustrations and sadness that I felt.  It validated my own personal feelings.  However, I came away very hopeful and positive, armed with tools, knowledge and a better understanding of the disease.  Knowledge is power, and the Summit gave me the knowledge to be an effective advocate, and not just with fundraising.  I learned how to overcome the smoking stigma, how to engage with the legislature, how to communicate with the media and how to spread the word about Free to Breathe through the medical community.  I think everyone in attendance at the Summit wanted to go home and put their own mark on fighting the disease.  The tools you leave with are invaluable in helping with that effort.

    What more would you like us to know about your advocacy efforts and/or your experience with the Summit?

    The Summit provides the tools and knowledge.  The Free to Breathe organization and its employees provide unlimited encouragement and support.   They are a first class organization and their staff is top notch!   I am so proud and honored to be an advocate for Free to Breathe and I truly believe we will meet the goal of doubling lung cancer survival by the year 2022!   

    Fill in the blank.  Attending the Summit allowed me to _________.

    Re-channel my anger and frustration with lung cancer and do something positive about it.  Attending the Summit gave me the tools and knowledge to contribute and do something meaningful in the fight.


    Join Glenna in gaining the tools and knowledge to meaningfully contribute to the movement to double lung cancer survival by 2022. Learn more, and apply for the 2014 Lung Cancer Action Summit!

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