By Robyn Young
In 2013, my boyfriend of eight years was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He was 27 years old.
I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a lie. At first, because of his age, he was misdiagnosed with a different cancer. He underwent chemotherapy. It didn’t work. At our follow up scan, the one that was supposed to tell us he was 100% cancer free, we found out, instead, it was lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a terrible disease. What makes it worse is the stigma associated with it. Before our diagnosis, I believed only elderly people who had smoked for decades could get lung cancer. I was wrong. America is wrong in the way lung cancer is depicted. Young people, who have never smoked a cigarette, can get lung cancer too.
Since, we have met many young people, some around our age, some younger, who have the same disease. We are all fighting for our lives. I ask, no, I beg, you to join us.
Jon and I met in art school. He was a filmmaker and I, an actor. The perfect love story. We have been chasing our dreams of making movies ever since! We weren’t married when he was diagnosed, but that soon changed and we were united in marriage on the exact anniversary of our very first date.
Just because lung cancer is a part of our lives, doesn’t mean we have to stop creating. In fact, we create more now. Just this past summer, Jon wrote and directed a short film entitled Nirvana: a short film about cancer, based upon his experience. The film is a love story between the patient and caregiver, between life, death, and the possibilities that lie in the unknown. He is currently editing the film. In addition, we spend most of our time creating: developing new ideas, writing, filming, and more.
Nowadays, we don’t plan for the future, but strive to live in the moment. Because of new targeted therapy medications, created not too long ago, Jon is doing very well. For this, I am most grateful.
Lung cancer is severely under funded. In comparison to less deadly cancers, the statistics are unacceptable. Science and research have brought us to a very exciting time in medicine. Because of this, I ask for more awareness and funding for lung cancer. When this happens, the doctors can keep creating new drugs that will one day cure lung cancer. I believe it is possible in our lifetime. This cause is so important to so many. Please stop ignoring lung cancer. My young life depends on it because the person I love depends on it. Your life may depend on it too one day.
To learn more about Nirvana: a short film about cancer CLICK HERE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nirvana-a-short-film-about-cancer/598777076879059
To DONATE to lung cancer research CLICK HERE: http://www.lungcanceralliance.org/ways-to-give/