By Maggie Walsh, Events & Volunteers Coordinator
I was first exposed to lung cancer as a little girl, when my Nana was diagnosed with the disease. I’ll never forget sitting in the waiting room with my Nana at radiation appointments, making her breakfast or tucking her into bed at night with a teddy bear. As a seven year old, that felt like the right thing to do. I never would have guessed how cancer would impact my life moving forward.
When I was fourteen years old, my dad, who also happened to be my best friend, was diagnosed with brain cancer. This is when I truly learned how cancer can flip your world upside down. My active, vibrant, 50 year-old father slowly lost all his abilities. He fought cancer with a smile and an incredible sense of humor for close to a year. After my dad’s passing, fighting back against cancer in his memory became my life mission. From fifteen on, my journey began!
I began fundraising for brain cancer research and was overwhelmed by the love and support I received from family, friends and community members I had never even met. I later lead initiatives in my community and during college, focused on raising awareness and funds for cancer research.
Throughout my years of fundraising and in my short career at LCA, the most rewarding part has been the incredible volunteers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I understand how volunteers are the heart of every successful organization. Volunteers deserve passionate staff who can empower their efforts. Together, what we can achieve as a community is monumental.
I work for the lung cancer survivors who courageously fight, while holding on to optimism and hope. They inspire me and remind me of the progress that is being made each day. I work for the loved ones we have lost to lung cancer too soon. Two of my dear friends had to endure the loss of their mothers to lung cancer during our college years. I cannot stand to see another friend endure this pain.
Working for Lung Cancer Alliance means I have the great honor to collaborate with and support our dedicated volunteers through our programs: Shine a Light, Shine a Light Your Way and Lung Love Run/Walk. I witness the commitment our health care facilities have for their patients and caregivers in organizing Shine a Light events. I see the determination in each individual who plans a creative fundraiser to further this mission through our Shine a Light Your Way program. Finally, I see the hope that is created through our Lung Love Run/Walk events – not solely because of our fundraising efforts, but because of the community that is created when we unite to celebrate those touched by this disease.
If I could only share one thought with the Lung Cancer Alliance community, it would be: thank you. Thank you to all the passionate advocates, volunteers, survivors and caregivers who work tirelessly to bring more light to this disease. I am thankful for all the event volunteers and participants that help to fund our mission and who pour their hearts into ending the stigma associated with lung cancer. While there is still great progress to be made, every action you take makes a difference. Because of you, hope is unstoppable.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to make a difference by being involved with any of the programs above. It would be an honor. Philadelphia, we’ll see you on April 22!
To learn more about our upcoming events and ways to get involved, click here!