I am a stage IV lung cancer survivor, diagnosed incidentally in 2006, without a sign or symptom; it sent our entire family into a tailspin. My daughter researched BJALCF and realized it was a perfect fit for us. Starting at the very top with Bonnie herself, I have come to know these wonderfully caring, intelligent, and fiercely dedicated people. I love them all. It is inspiring to watch them support and sponsor the best and the brightest in the field of lung cancer research, making a difference in the treatment and survival rate of Lung Cancer NOW. At the same time, they provide information, hope, and inspiration on a very individual and personal basis to those of us battling this disease. I was inspired to begin a 5K walk/run in Gainesville, FL to support the Foundation. We will be celebrating our 4th annual Run Amuck With the Duck on March 9, 2013. It's incredibly fulfilling to be a BJALCF soldier in this war!
There's some special "alchemy" going on at the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation that starts with Bonnie and pervades her entire staff: 100+% positive, helpful, proactive, ALIVE! I have spent my personal and professional life in the non-profit sector. Of the organizations that I have encountered, BJALCF ranks at the top in terms of how it embraces people in need, provides life-saving information and personal help, and provides great hope in the face of having a life-threatening disease. As a volunteer and as the wife of someone with lung cancer, I know that the Foundation's research and advocacy work saves lives AND has provided me and my husband with a life-saving place to be. It is rich resource of information and of people with great heart. I often tell my friends that, "The Addario Foundation is doing for lung cancer what the Komen Foundation has done for breast cancer."
My daughter's best friend, Jill Costello, died of lung cancer in 2010. A few months before she died, Jill agreed to be a spokesperson for the BJALCF. It was a smart and brave move on her part. Everyone at BJALCF was so loving and supportive of Jill and her family! For myself, I am very glad I had somewhere to turn after Jill died. Through my efforts on behalf of the foundation, I feel I can make a positive difference to beat lung cancer -- big time! BJALCF also helped Jill's young friends set up Jill's Legacy, which is an young persons' advisory board to BJALCF. I know that, by becoming involved with Jill's Legacy, it has made a big difference in my daughter's life, after losing her best friend. I have seen everyone affiliated with both BJALCF and Jill's Legacy work tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for research. I am quite certain that their inspired efforts will bring about a much increased lung cancer survival rate over the next several years.
I feel like I fit into many categories under the "role" section for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. I first joined the foundation as a volunteer when a dear friend was diagnosed. BJA welcomed me and gave more support back to than I could ever give to it. The foundation empowers patients and families and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. This foundation treats every side of lung cancer and I am forever grateful for the 360 degree action they take to fight. I now sit on a young professional board of the foundation and it is the thing I am most proud of in my life. I may not be a researcher and I am not a big donor, but BJA has shown me the impact each person can to tackle something much bigger. Thank you BJA!