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‘Cover Girls’ Raise Awareness, Advance Change

‘Cover Girls’ Raise Awareness, Advance Change

Recently, as I was in the Resource Center of the High Point Regional Cancer Center just before a meeting there, I suddenly saw the face of my friend and fellow lung cancer patient/advocate Laura Greco! I was surprised and happy to see her representing in my small town. Darn if I didn’t see yet a second friendly face, Janet Freeman-Daily! Then, I noticed a third familiar face! It was Ivy Horowitz Elkins, another lung cancer friend and fellow advocate!

Spotting my friends on magazine covers

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These women were each featured on the cover of magazines. Laura was featured on the cover of “Cancer Health” under the headline “The Stigma of Lung Cancer: Facing an Unexpected Diagnosis.” Janet was on the cover of “Cancer Today” with the headline “Setting Goals for Research: Janet Freeman-Daily Taps the Power of Patients to Assist Scientists.” Ivy was the cover girl for “Advanced Lung Cancer” with the awesome headline: “Cancer You’re Not Beating Me: Four Years After Her Stage IV Diagnosis, Ivy Elkins is Making the Most of Each Day.”

Bear with me as I try to explain why this is so amazing, aside from the fact that these three women are beyond amazing.

Filling a gap with helpful information

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After my own diagnosis in 2005, I visited the Resource Center at my cancer center (which was not the one mentioned above). I searched the shelves of books, booklets, and brochures for information about lung cancer, but there was nothing. Soon after my treatment, I decided to volunteer at that Resource Center to help get materials to populate an area for lung cancer patients.

Since then, I have been to many cancer centers, I always check out their materials for lung cancer patients. If I notice it lacking significantly, I speak up and suggest lung cancer materials, which are usually free. Most cancer centers are happy to accommodate these requests, sometimes with the stipulation that there is no promotional literature about certain pharmaceutical brands.

Proud of my dear friends

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Considering where lung cancer was in the scheme of things 13 years ago and then to step into that Resource Center and see three of my fellow advocates smiling back at me…well, I was profoundly moved. Frankly, I was deeply moved when I at first saw only one friend’s face on the magazine cover. But within seconds seeing two more prominently featured powerful lung cancer advocates was simply amazing.

The topics they are addressing: stigma, research, and hope.

Speak up for lung cancer awareness

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I know there are many more stories from fellow advocates. They don’t need to be featured on the cover of a magazine. Some folks are doing TV and radio interviews. Others are writing or being featured in newspaper articles.

Friends, this is how we change the world. Share your stories. Unite behind the cause. Be willing. Be available. Be prepared.

We have come a long way. Those new to lung cancer may not recognize it but I do. Kudos to Laura, Janet, Ivy and all the lung cancer advocates making a difference in their own communities and in mine.

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.