A Friend for Life

Leah and Kimberly at the Huskers' game.

Leah and Kimberly at the Huskers’ game.

Sunday, August 7th is Friendship Day, a day to say “thank you” to all those special people in your life you call a friend.  We sat down with two inspirational survivors who would have never met each other were it not for their lung cancer diagnosis.

Leah and Kimberly are both young moms in their 40’s, living in Nebraska. After their lung cancer diagnosis they both took action, becoming strong advocates for our cause. They met at an awareness event cheering on their favorite team, the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. We got their take on the friendship and how it has changed their lives.

Why do you think you became such fast friends? 

L: We are both passionate about taking up the cause for lung cancer.  We are Husker fans.  We are both moms.  We both grew up in small towns.

K: Leah and I had an instant connection. It was perfect timing as I was really needing a lung cancer survivor connection that was my age and had similar life circumstances.

What does your friendship mean to you? 

L: Kimberly is the only other person in Nebraska that I am connected with who is passionate about the cause. That is invaluable! She has motivated me to step outside the local box and think bigger about how to take our cause higher, like going to D.C. in May for the Lung Cancer Summit.  I would never have done that without her encouraging me to go.

K: I am so thankful I met Leah. I look forward to continuing our friendship and working together to fight for a cure!

Leah and Kimberly ready to storm Capitol Hill at the 2016 Lung Cancer Summit.

Ready to storm Capitol Hill at the 2016 Lung Cancer Summit.

Is there a moment in your friendship that stands out to you?

L: When the two of us went “head to head” with one of our representatives in D.C., tag teaming and working together to drive home our point. It was amazing!!!

Have your friendships changed since your lung cancer diagnosis?

L: They only grow stronger!

K: I lost one of my closest friends, and to this day do not know why that happened. But I gained a few more valuable friendships I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for lung cancer.

What advice would you give someone battling lung cancer? 

L: Keep a positive attitude!  Never stop seeking the best path for yourself; research, question and be informed about every decision.  Don’t be afraid to seek help.

K: Respect your family and friends and their feelings towards you. In the beginning, I put up a wall and didn’t allow all of my family and friends to be involved in my treatment. I kept them at arm’s length and tried to handle everything on my own.  I didn’t realize until it was almost too late that they needed me and I needed them. And BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!