I can actually say that after all of the years that I have participated at Harold Alfond Cancer Survivor Day, the recent event was a true Cancer Survivor Day (”Cancer survivors, caregivers, celebrate 10 years of Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care,” Sept. 9).

In prior years there was no speakers supporting lung cancer survivors. They had a breast cancer survivor speak one year, another breast cancer survivor speak another year, a colon cancer survivor another.

The first year they were handing out pink ribbons to everyone that got off the bus for the event. I mentioned to the organizer that cancer wasn’t always represented by pink — each cancer had its own color. I suggested that if they hand out ribbons to make it in multiple colors. The next year, they didn’t hand out ribbons.

I checked the resource room to see what they had on lung cancer. To my surprise they had nothing despite all the material that I gave them. I spoke up about that as well. The next year the organizer took me by the hand and lead me into a room where they had set up tables filled with brochures. Sure enough, they had our brochures lying on the table.

This year they gave T-shirts with a white ribbon on it. Lung cancer patients could keep the ribbon white and other cancer survivors could paint the ribbon to coincide with their cancer color. The speakers represented every cancer that the hospital treats.

I can’t tell you how thrilled to finally see support for the lung cancer community. A community that lies fate to stigma, shame, blame and isolation. A community whose survival rate is often less than five years. A community that deserves respect, support, care and a voice at the table.

Deb Violette

president and CEO

Free ME from Lung Cancer


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