Be Informed: Roundup of Advocacy Meetings and Events (Winter and Spring)

Every gathering of lung cancer advocates is uniquely wonderful. It’s a time to meet fellow advocates perhaps for the first time after knowing them only through social media. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with friends developed through the years, with bonds growing deeper with each passing year. When advocates come together, there is encouragement, power, comfort, and love.

Attending events and conferences as an advocate

Whether it’s lobbying Congress for more research funding, gathering with hundreds of other patients/survivors/advocates, or attending a scientific meeting, there are many events and awareness activity options for lung cancer advocates. It may not be possible to attend every meeting, but I think you would enjoy attending some -- at least I do. Here are a few of the gatherings to consider. Some, such as LUNGevity and GO2’s annual summits, are designed for advocates. Advocates also attend scientific meetings, where some even give presentations.

Attending scientific conferences can be overwhelming. You may want to familiarize yourself with research terms first. Check out How Nonscientific Advocates Can Understand Science to find free educational resources that can help you better prepare to absorb and understand the relevance of research released at such meetings.

January: Radon Action Month

January is Radon Action Month. Radon is the number two cause of lung cancer. It is easy to test your home for radon. Taking action can be testing, mitigating or raising awareness about radon. One reason January is a good month for Radon Action is that most people have the windows in their homes closed in January. But don’t let that stop you from testing any month or any season of the year!

February: IASLC's Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer meeting

In February, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer hosts its annual Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer meeting. This three-day event has been held in Santa Monica, California since 2010. IASLC waives the $800 registration fee for advocates; however, due to the limited space at the meeting facility, space is very limited. Register early or risk not having a seat. The hotel where the meeting is held is about 10 miles or so from LAX. Accommodations at the meeting site are extremely expensive, but you can find a reasonably-priced hotel in the vicinity.

This is a fast-paced scientific meeting. I recently heard it described as “speed dating with science.” Researchers deliver five-minute scientific presentations one after the next. Read more about the Targeted Therapies in Lung Cancer meeting.

Also, IASLC now waives membership dues for survivors/patients/advocates. Learn more about becoming a member.

April: LUNGevity’s International Lung Cancer Survivorship Summit

April brings one of my favorite events -- LUNGevity’s International Lung Cancer Survivorship Summit (formerly Hope Summit), held just outside DC. I think every lung cancer patient/survivor/advocate should attend this annual event at least once.

First-time attendees with financial need can apply for a travel grant. After the first year, you most likely will be hooked and want to return. However, after your first Summit, you will need to pay your own way or fundraise for LUNGevity to cover your travel expenses. There is a $75 registration fee. Register early to secure your spot.

This two-day event is highly educational and inspirational. Perhaps the best part is the bonds created with other attendees. There are three tracts:

Read more about the Survivorship Summit.

May: American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting

In May/June, get your running shoes on if you plan to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). This is the meeting where major scientific progress is reported. This five-day event is attended by more than 40,000.

Travel grants of $1,800 may be available. However, ASCO grants are highly competitive. If you are fortunate to receive one, it may not cover all your expenses. Hotel rooms are very pricy and may be sold out if you don’t book early. The travel grant application process is a bit tricky because there is only a narrow window of time when you can apply. The form is easy to complete and is usually accessible prior to the application window opening. The advocate early registration fee is $295 and goes up to $420 closer to the event date.

This event is intensely hectic. There is an advocacy lounge where advocates can gather to meet with fellow advocates, rest, check email, catch up with others, and enjoy lunch and learn events. During the evenings there are usually pharma receptions and advocate briefings.

Read more about ASCO as a patient advocate along with tips to keep in mind while you're there.

Learn more about lung cancer advocacy events in Be Informed: Roundup of Advocacy Meetings and Events (Summer and Fall).

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