April is Volunteer Month. Throughout the month, we will be highlighting five of our incredible volunteers as “Volunteers of the Week”. We are grateful for everything our volunteers do from hosting events, talking to others touched by lung cancer or storming Capitol Hill. Their commitment to the cause truly makes a difference and inspires all of us to work even harder to save lives.
Meet Kristy and Janie from Houston, TX and whose friendship and bond got stronger after their lives were touched by lung cancer.
Kristy and Janie, close friends who had met through an unexpected business call in 2008, had fallen out of touch for about a year after Kristy changed her line of work. Janie, who had been thinking of Kristy at the time, found out that Kristy’s mother had passed away after a two year battle with lung cancer. This brought back memories and feelings from her own mother’s struggle with the disease, which ended just four months earlier. Janie called Kristy, and for the first time both women felt they were no longer alone in their grief.
“We had so much in common and since we were both very close to our moms, speaking about them to each other was comforting to know I had someone on the other end of the phone understanding not only my grief but also all other mixed emotions with my loss,” said Janie.
With hope of finding community, support and a platform to honor her mother, Kristy went online to see what lung cancer awareness events Houston had to offer. The only thing she could find was a Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event in November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Not knowing what to expect, Kristy asked Janie to take the 45 minute drive into downtown Houston for the event. After leaving, the women made it their mission to create a lung cancer awareness event in their town.
Since late 2013, Kristy and Janie have assisted in compiling a team of twelve dedicated and enthusiastic members to put on a Lung Love Walk event in November 2014, an opportunity for families and friends to come together, remember, support and raise awareness for a disease that kills more people each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. “Houston is a huge city and this is a moment we can blow the doors off it. Everyone is touched by lung cancer in some way and it is our job to get people talking about it, to offer a community and support system,” said Kristy.
Speaking about her inspiration for putting on the walk, Kristy said “I try and live my mom’s life, dreams and inspirations through my actions. She made people realize that, no matter the circumstance, no one deserves to die of cancer and these people need support and help raising awareness. My mom’s story is now mine.”
“I am thankful for Kristy’s friendship and I will always treasure it because through our stories, we have learned there are many who have the same strive to help with lung cancer awareness,” said Janie.
Click here to learn more about Lung Love Runs and Walks!