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.
Our first volunteer of the week is Gayle Foley. We salute Gayle for her desire to help others in honor of her mom and for her ability to motivate her friends and family worldwide to run for lung cancer. Way to go, Gayle!
“Just One of Those Things”
In a quiet town in England this past August, Florrie Noronha’s headaches led her to the emergency room. After some tests, her doctors discovered that the headaches were caused from brain metastases from lung cancer. Florrie was a never smoker. She was shocked and in denial. She finally told her family on Christmas Eve. At the age of 64, the mother of three and grandmother of two passed away eight days later with her family around her. Her daughter Gayle is expressing her grief through running and she is bringing others along with her.
“Before this, I had never had any close contact with anyone with cancer so I didn’t know anything about cancer really. I assumed you get lung cancer if you smoked, well my mum never smoked, was never exposed to asbestos, didn’t have a family history. She was told that her diagnosis was ‘just one of those things.’ This shocked me! I just couldn’t imagine that lung cancer could be ‘just one of those things.’
In February, I starting sitting with all of this. I am completely heartbroken to lose my mum and felt completely helpless in her battle. I decided that I NEEDED to do something positive in her honor. I feel so passionate now about this cause now, especially as it hitting so close to home. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this could happen to us. I started a Facebook page in her honor and then found Lung Cancer Alliance.
I joined Team Lung Love and set a goal for myself to create awareness. In honor of my mom and to do something to help others, I decided to run ten 5Ks this year. This is a personal goal and I will definitely complete it. I just added a five to seven mile mud run obstacle course to the list! I ran my first 5K just a few weeks ago and I ran a time that was better than I anticipated.
What I hadn’t anticipated was the incredible, far reaching support from my family and friends around the world. I have 18 members of my Team Lung Love, which I named Florries Pearl Warriors. My sister in law has taken up running so she can do this with me. A good friend is running a 10K in England. And my cousin, is running a 5K each time I do—in Australia!
I just wanted to do something that could create awareness, and make my mother proud of my efforts.
I don’t know where this will go, but I wanted to try to do something and if nothing else, just share my story. This has hit me hard and I hope she is looking down on me, proud that I am taking this tragedy and trying to turn it into a positive.