From advancements in research and progress on Capitol Hill, to working directly with survivors and families, 2019 has been a monumental inaugural year for us at GO2 Foundation. At the heart of everything we do is our patient community; you continue to inspire and motivate us every day. Some of you chose to share your story to offer hope and connection to others impacted by the disease. Before we move into this new decade, let’s look back on some stories that inspired us this year.

Dan | Richmond, VA

“It was during my second year of my oral and maxillofacial surgery residency that I found out I had lung cancer. I had been battling back pain and leg numbness for about 2 months until finally the numbness and pain became unbearable. I went to the emergency room and it was there that I found out I had lung cancer. I was only 30 years old.

The biggest piece of advice that I can offer is that there is hope. Lung cancer is no longer a death sentence. There have so been so many breakthroughs in the past decade and there continues to be breakthroughs every year that have pushed the boundaries of lung cancer survivorship. When I was first diagnosed I never thought I would see my newborn daughter grow up, finish my residency, or enjoy a pain free life. My daughter will soon celebrate her 2nd birthday, I’m about to start my chief year of residency, and since surgery and targeted treatment I no longer have pain. Research is the key to extending our lives and hopefully finding a cure!”

Christina | Leesburg, VA

“I was diagnosed with stage IV ALK+ NSCLC on April 1, 2019.  As a mother of three young children, they motivate me every day to live life to its fullest and enjoy each and every moment. My advice to someone newly diagnosed is to hold strongly onto hope and faith.  After just a few months on my targeted therapy medication I have shown a complete metabolic response and am able to enjoy a new normal. I have learned so much throughout my short journey thus far, but primarily that I am beyond blessed and that there is so much hope for new treatment options in the future to extend patient outcomes.”

Ron | Midlothian, VA

“My cancer story began in December 2013 when I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Four years later on Christmas Day 2017, I began to feel bad but thought it was a cold or the flu. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with stage III NSCLC. I had a lower left lobe wedge but the surgeon was only able to remove a little of the lobe as the cancer had spread outside the lung, but had not metasized to other organs.

I went through 36 radiation treatments and chemotherapy (cisplatin/etoposide) for two, eight-day sessions. At the end of these treatments, I began a new immunotherapy, Imfinzi. During treatment, I relied on my faith, along with my family and friends for physical, emotional, and spiritual support.

My advice is: no matter what life comes at you with, you must have a never give up, never lose faith, never quit mentality! No matter what, never give up!”

Dan | Chalfont, PA

“I was diagnosed with stage 4A non-small cell lung cancer in February 2019. I am beyond grateful for a few sources of strength, inspiration and information. My wife found the ALK Positive support group on Facebook, which helped us to be better equipped to understand what doctors were saying and armed with meaningful questions. My team of doctors welcomed and suggested second opinions. My wife and family were amazing support systems to remind me what I’m fighting for and to smile—even when it isn’t always so easy to do so. The greatest message given to me was that I’ve always had a positive outlook and attitude that will allow me to conquer the challenges of having cancer.”

Lung cancer is a difficult battle—but there is always hope. Know that in 2020, we will continue to fight for each of you and share your stories. Together, we will work to eradicate lung cancer and improve lives. If you would like to inspire others, please submit your story of hope here.