Every month our Lung Cancer Living Room, a patient education and support series, brings hope home to patients and their families around the world. Through presentations by experts in the field, this unrestricted forum covers all topics, from early detection to personalized medicine and beyond. As the first lung cancer support group of its kind, the Lung Cancer Living Room brings you the feeling of home, whether you are part of the live audience or watch from your own living room. But how did the Lung Cancer Living Room become what it is today? We sat down with our Chief Patient Officer, Danielle Hicks, to learn more.
Q: When was the first Lung Cancer Living Room?
A: We held the first Living Room in our San Carlos office in 2009.
Q: Why did you start the Lung Cancer Living Room?
A: In 2009, Bonnie, my mom and I were invited to speak at a local lung cancer support group. We walked into the room, and as my mom would say, it was a gray room, with gray walls, gray tables, and gray people. It was a very formulaic support group, and patients played a limited part in sharing during the meeting. They weren’t even allowed to share information about their own treatment process. On our drive home, Bonnie and I pulled together the concept for the Lung Cancer Living Room based on what patients at our recent walk/run told us they wanted—the opportunity to meet other survivors and form a community.
Q: Has there been a moment that made you most proud to have founded the Lung Cancer Living Room?
A: My proudest moments come from the feedback we get after every Living Room. The goal for the Living Room is always to help everyone in attendance to find some value or meaning during the program. Despite being anxious regarding the success of the meeting before each event, two hours later when it wraps up, I immediately breathe a sigh of relief. Hearing about how much of a difference the Living Room makes in people’s lives means the world to me. It’s also so amazing to see how much we’ve grown, especially in terms of having guest speakers, most of which are key opinion leaders, come on. The feedback from these leaders in the lung cancer community is amazing.
Q: How has livestreaming the program helped grow the Lung Cancer Living Room audience?
A: Initially, we only had the Living Room in-person in San Carlos, CA, so you had to be local to attend. Our first expansion was to film, edit, and release the videos later. We got great feedback, but everyone kept saying they wished they could be there live. It was at that point that one of my colleagues, who had a connection at our local cable network, Peninsula Television, approached us with idea of doing a live broadcast. The rest is history!
The response we’ve received since we began livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube, in addition to cable, has been overwhelming. We’ve reached almost a million people in 144 countries across the world. It’s made the need for something like this in the lung cancer community so apparent. Industry leaders seek opportunities to speak and attend these events that remind them of the importance of what they do every day.
Q: What plans are in store for the Lung Cancer Living Room in 2020 and beyond?
A: I’m so excited to continue presenting the Living Room locally in California and bring it to new regions this year. We’re always innovating and expanding, so we’re looking at more ways to bring the Living Room to more people at a local level. There’s some exciting plans in the works that we haven’t announced yet, but keep following us for updates this year!
This month we have not one, but two, Lung Cancer Living Rooms: