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Celebrating My Friend’s 15 Year Lung Cancerversary!

Celebrating My Friend’s 15 Year Lung Cancerversary!

I went to a party this past weekend. Not just a regular party, but a party to celebrate that my friend Terry Gillepsie is doing well 15 years after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Yes, you read that right — she is a 15 year survivor!

Creating hope through our stories

Stories like Terry’s should get more attention, both in the lung cancer community and in the general public. Many people — fellow patients and oncologists included — don’t know that there is an increasing number of people who are thriving after a lung cancer diagnosis. In order to create hope in our community, these success stories are very important and need to be part of patient support, along with diagnosis and treatment information.

Finding community with my lung cancer sisters and brothers

I met Terry at my first LUNGevity Hope Summit. I was newly diagnosed and afraid that I was going to meet a lot of people as scared as myself. Instead, I met a group of people whom I didn’t really know existed — men and women who had double digit lung cancer survival anniversaries. A lightbulb went on and I realized that I could be one of those patients down the line and that anything was possible.

I believe that there’s nothing more empowering for a lung cancer patient than meeting others who are living with lung cancer. We have a very strong community of lung cancer survivors in the Chicago area, which is where I live. I hear frequently from other patients that we are so lucky to have such a tight-knit group of survivors.

Celebrating My Friend’s 15 Year Lung Cancerversary!

I agree that we are lucky, but we have worked very hard to find the members of our group and keep in touch. It’s not easy — few of us live close to each other and many of us have schedules that make getting together difficult. We persevere and try to find times to get together because we all gain so much from being with each other. No matter how much support we have from family and other friends, there is an incredible sense of freedom to be among a group of fellow survivors who understand exactly what it is like to live with the same disease. I know that my lung cancer sisters and brothers always have my back!

Celebrating my friend, Terry

At Terry’s celebration this weekend, there were five of us lung cancer survivors in attendance at the restaurant, in addition to Terry, her family, and close friends. We know how important it is to celebrate these milestones and how valuable it is to give us all continuing hope!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • sereic1024
    2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. I believe patient stories have helped me maintain hope and provided ideas on how to survive. I am surviving and hearing about the double digit survivor cases gives me great joy and optimism.

  • Des-Tiny
    1 year ago

    I agree that we need to build friendships in the community to tell and share our journey/stories that will give ourselves and others hope. I know since I have come on here it has given me hope and inspiration.

  • jdpatraw
    1 year ago

    Great article! Congrats to Terry!! I went to a lung cancer summit in Minnesota sponsored by A Breath of Hope. It was their first summit and it was wonderful!! I met a gal who is a survivor of 12 years and another of 19 years. How wonderful for both of them!! My best wishes to all lung cancer survivors as this is our month – lung cancer month. Jean

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