With one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, lung cancer has a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of Australians each year. But there is hope. In recent years, new treatments have seen an increase in the survival rate and quality of life for people impacted by the disease – research is providing hope that has never existed before.
This year, Ashleigh and her family joined our Shine a Light on Lung Cancer community to help raise vital funds to support further life-changing research. Devoted daughter, Ashleigh, had been living in Scotland for years when her Mum, Jeanie, asked her to call one day in February.
“I tried to be strong for her on the phone but couldn’t help crying when she told me that she’d been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and it was already in her liver and bones. I resigned from my job the next day, packed my belongings and said goodbye to my friends and partner of three years, and was home in Sydney one week after the call,” Ashleigh said.
“It’s been confronting seeing my Mum struggling to breathe or in pain and knowing she may not get better, or that I can’t always help.”
“Research means better quality of life, faster diagnosis and longer life spans. It means other people won’t have to suffer like my Mum has – isn’t that worth it?”
As the family struggled to come to terms with Jeanie’s terminal diagnosis, they channelled their energy into ways to fundraise to support critical research.
“Mum has been knitting beanies for fellow cancer patients. I created a fundraising page and have been using the hashtag #JeaniesBeanies (my Dad’s creation) on social media. I also ran a 5km in Manly. Mum’s work has held a “Wear a Beanie for Jeanie” event, also using the hashtag, and my friend, Emily, shaved her head,” Ashleigh said.
“No-one should have to go through what we’re going through. That’s why I wanted to raise funds for research and awareness of this horrible disease. Lung cancer research allowed my Mum to use targeted therapy first, which is kinder and with fewer side effects than older, harsher treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Research means a better quality of life, faster diagnosis and longer life spans. It means other people won’t have to suffer like my Mum has – isn’t that worth it?”
This November, to mark Lung Cancer Awareness Month, you can join people like Ashleigh to raise funds to brighten the future for Australians living with lung cancer. Each year, our Shine a Light on Lung Cancer community host fundraisers or make donations to provide seed funds that drive cutting-edge research projects undertaken by the best and brightest researchers. Fundraise or donate a lantern of hope to make a difference today.
Shine a Light on Lung Cancer
Support a fundraiser or make a donation to light a virtual lantern in memory, honour or support of someone impacted by lung cancer. You can also purchase a paper lantern to light during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. To find out more and to light a lantern, visit shinealight.lungfoundation.com.au.