Perseverance and Endurance in the Face of Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Heroes®, CURE® Lung Cancer Heroes® 2021 Essay Book, Volume 2,

These are the powerful stories of real-life heroes in the lung cancer space who persevere with great compassion and teach us to embrace, not avoid, life’s setbacks and challenges.

The second annual Lung Cancer Heroes® awards program provides us another opportunity to recognize incredible people who nurture hope and cultivate fortitude. These heroes include physicians, nurses and patient advocates, all of whom rise above the challenges to make a real difference in people’s lives.

As we host this awards program, I continue to be blown away by how courageous and bold people are in the face of what can be a frightening obstacle: lung cancer. This year, we are honoring two doctors and a patient-turned-advocate, but it’s important to note that every single person who was nominated by their friends, family and colleagues are, in fact, heroes.

There are countless inspirational quotes about heroes, but one that stands out to me is from Christopher Reeve, who played the hero, Superman. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Although these patients, doctors, advocates, nurses and others may seem ordinary at first glance, they go above and beyond to educate, inspire and encourage while navigating the many obstacles, from the cancer itself to barriers to treatment to gaps in research.

While reading the nominations, I learned about so many brave doctors who compassionately cared for their patients no matter what difficulties they faced.

“(What is notable) is his dedication to the highest level of patient care even under the most difficult circumstances,” a doctor wrote about his fellow colleague. “He has ensured top-notch care for the neediest minority patient groups of the poorest county in New York state — the Bronx — for 20 years, never yielding to institutional or other pressures to sway from his goal and instilling the same dedication in others around him.”

I also learned that many patient advocates, among others, used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to discover new ways to connect patients and survivors with each other.

“We have been inspired by his story of lung cancer survivorship, his advocacy and the way he uses his (podcast) platform to inform and advocate for others to use their voice,” a patient advocate wrote in her nomination about a podcast host. “In an era of trauma, people whose buoyancy elevates both purpose and agency shine like a flashlight in the darkness. During the past year of uncertainty, (he) was that light for many.”

Other nominators detailed how helping patients with lung cancer is, truly, some people’s mission in life.

“(She) is a gentle soul who was placed on Earth for this purpose: to guide those with the most common cancer there is,” a nurse wrote about her colleague. “She has done all this while being the single mother of five children, all now amazing adults.”

We look forward to the Lung Cancer Heroes® awards program, held virtually again this year. The program gives us another opportunity to hear the powerful stories of these real-life heroes in the lung cancer space who persevere with great compassion and teach us to embrace, not avoid, life’s setbacks and challenges.

Mike Hennessy Jr.
President and CEO of MJH Life SciencesTM

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