What doubling lung cancer survival means to me

It can be difficult for me to see all the way to 2022. Like so many diagnosed with lung cancer, I have to take things one day at a time. I was diagnosed fewer than two years ago, and I finished chemotherapy in June 2012.And yet the National Lung Cancer Partnership's vision to double lung cancer survival by 2022 creates a new way to look to the future, adding an extra sense of purpose every day to my support of the lung cancer movement. I am certain that when survival statistics rise, public awareness and research funding will rise with them.I found out I had lung cancer on February 9, 2012, during an afternoon I should have spent teaching my sweet third grade students. Instead, my family and I gathered together to hear a doctor share the results of a biopsy. I remember watching the doctor as he strung together a series of words; "tumor is malignant... found this late... talk to an oncologist." The magnitude of those words was life altering. I was 29 years old. How could this have happened to me? As the reality of living with lung cancer began to settle in, it became a part of my new life. But it was not a one-way relationship. I realized that lung cancer needs a face, a strong voice and above all, the research necessary to find cures. I am not naïve about what it will take to get us there. So, barely two months after my diagnosis, I began my journey as a fundraiser for the 2012 Free to Breathe Dallas/Fort Worth Run/Walk. I was in the middle of chemotherapy and I had just a month before the event, but I raised over $10,000 for lung cancer research and patient programs. Suddenly, I had a new mission in life.Looking to keep the momentum going, I attended the Partnership's 2012 Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit and continued my fundraising efforts in 2013. To date, I've already raised over $40,000.Ultimately, I want to help researchers find more cures for lung cancer, and doubling survival is an important step on that journey. As a survivor who has tested positive for two genetic mutations, I know how much scientific progress is being made on the molecular level. With so much happening on the research front, it's meaningful to me that the Partnership recognizes that research, molecular tumor testing, clinical trials and patient education are the future of survival.My personal goal for 2022 is simple: I would like to be alive. One day at a time, I am building toward that goal.My most recent CT scan showed no signs of cancer. My fundraising totals continue to grow. Together, I know we will beat this disease. Together, we will double lung cancer survival, and we will continue working until a cure is available to everyone. Cassie Gilmore is a lung cancer survivor in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. You can read more about the National Lung Cancer Partnership's goal to double the five-year lung cancer survival rate by 2022 at nationallungcancerpartnership.org/vision.