Laurianne's Hope

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Book Report: Mom's Cancer

I went on Saturday to our local Barnes and Noble, armed with gift cards and my husband. Well, my husband was along because they were mostly his gift cards. One was for Christmas, and I already decided I wanted to buy the book Mom's Cancer and also Help Me Live: 20 Things People with Cancer Want You to Know. Well, unfortunately, they didn't have Lori Hope's book in stock (or maybe fortunately, if it was sold out), but they had about 8 copies of Mom's Cancer available. So, I read a couple of pages, and got to a point where I started thinking a lot of Laurianne and rather than cry in the middle of Barnes and Noble, I stopped reading.

When I got home, I got to page 33 before I stopped reading. I noticed a lot of similarities between Mom and my sister. They both got to that path in life differently, but the treatment is similar. It took me three days to read, not because it is a difficult read but because I was distracted by other things as well. I also plan to read it again next week.

It is a very honest look at how family reacts to situations. I liked the part about how families in a crisis draw on their strengths and NurseSis, KidSis and Brian all become superheros. I kind of reminded me how my sister said that she felt like a 5 year old, because my parents kept making her eat and would put food on her plate and tell her to take one bite. Later, my mom said, "Well, she acts like a 5 year old sometimes too!"

I think it is important to remember that this is Brian's perspective also. His sisters and mom might have seen things differently. I know I didn't really get to see all the things my parents had to go through with my sister, or the struggles she had. I am sure if you asked me something about my sister's illness, you would get a different answer to the same question from my parents or brother. But isn't that true of how memories are? I did get updates, and was aware of a lot of what was going on.

I would recommend this book to anyone who knows someone who is going through cancer. This is a story about a mom going through lung cancer, but I think many people go through the same experiences. There is parts in the book about quitting smoking, but that message doesn't overwhelm the story. And quitting smoking or never smoking at all is the number one preventative for lung cancer. If you are trying to quit, you may even want to read to see what you might have to go through from the habit. The note in the back said many people told Mom that her story helped them to quit. I also thought the end of the story was very well done and hopeful. But I am not going to give it away!


Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 1:01 PM :: 2 people are more aware

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Special People

I told you the other day about a book called Mom's Cancer. I also told you about an article in the U.S. News and World Report. I would like to talk to you today about two very special people I have "met" related to these two things.

The first person I "met" was through the Mom's Cancer blog. Her name is Lynne and she made a comment that she has been following Laurianne's Story and also has non-smoking related lung cancer. Laurianne is one of the youngest she has heard of with non-smoking related lung cancer. Lynne sells artwork that is really beautiful, so I want to put a plug in for that. If you want see some really beautiful work, you should look at her New Leaf store (You can also visit her New Leaf blog to view her work.) Lynne and I have been emailing each other, and I encourage you to visit her blog and find out more about the struggles she is going through and give her an encouraging word.

The second person I have emailed recently, based on the U.S. News and World Report article is Lori Hope. Lori was interviewed for that article. I told her I was happy she gave that interview because people automatically assumed that my sister was a smoker. My sister was not a smoker. She may have tried smoking in her teens, but I am sure there are a lot of non-smokers who can say that. Lori is also a lung cancer survivor and the author of Help Me Live: 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know. If you go to her website, you can read some of the things she suggests for people who have friends or family with lung cancer. They include:
  • "It's okay to say or do the 'wrong' thing."
  • "I like to hear success stories, not horror stories."
  • "I need you to listen to me and let me cry."
  • "Asking my permission can spare me pain."
  • "I need to forget and laugh."
  • "I need to feel hope."
  • "Telling me to think positively can make me feel worse."
Lori also has The Compassionate Communication Campaign's Acronyms for Healing:
L isten without judging, interrupting, or feeling like you have to say something.
A sk permission to give advice, to visit, to tell others of your friend's problems.
U nderstand that your friend is especially sensitive because of her or his trauma.
G ive it time if your friend doesn't feel like talking or visiting now.
H umor helps almost everyone cope. Funny movies and books can help.

L et go of the myth that everyone dies of cancer; keep hope alive!
E mpathize by trying to remember a time when you were terrified.
A nalyze your audience to determine what your friend needs and enjoys.
R un interference; keep toxic friends away from the person who's suffering.
N o horror stories ever! They kill hope; people want to hear success stories.

L ove her and show it by considering her needs rather than your own.
O ffer specific help such as picking up groceries or his kids, or doing laundry.
V alidate him by telling him that his feelings, even negative ones, are normal.
E xercise caution by letting her bring up the subject of her health; she may want to forget.
I think this book would be helpful to a lot of people. Sometimes, a person just doesn't know what to say or do when they find out a friend or relative has cancer. So they do the worst thing -- ignore them. Even if you don't ignore them, you might still be able to benefit from this book. From what I have read on Lori's website, it sounds like it is full of good advice from the cancer survivor's viewpoint.

Even though my sister isn't here anymore, I plan to read her book as well as Mom's Cancer. I will give you an update on them after I have read them. I know Mom's Cancer doesn't relate to my sister's situation, but as is becoming my mantra, no one deserves lung cancer.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 11:57 AM :: 3 people are more aware

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Shock of Lung Cancer, When It Strikes Nonsmokers - The New York Times 3/21/06

Stuart Bradford
The Shock of Lung Cancer, When It Strikes Nonsmokers
The New York Times
March 21, 2006
Personal Health

Dr. David A. Karnofsky was a brilliant oncologist working hard at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to provide the best possible therapies for cancer patients. My mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 1958, was one of them. And while he could not save her, we were ever so grateful for the caring way he treated her.

Then, in 1969, Dr. Karnofsky, a 55-year-old nonsmoker, died of lung cancer, caused perhaps by his work with nitrogen mustard in World War II. Now another very caring American, Dana Reeve, also a nonsmoker, has been taken by the same disease. She was only 44 and had devoted 9 of her last 10 years to aiding her paralyzed husband, Christopher Reeve, and raising awareness and support for victims of spinal cord injuries like the one he suffered in a horseback-riding accident.

It's Not Just Smoking

Although lung cancer is inextricably linked to smoking in the public mind (and in the minds of most doctors), each year tens of thousands of people who never smoked get this challenging cancer. They are often the subject of much head shaking. What could have caused their cancer?

Why, for example, did Ms. Reeve get lung cancer? Could it have been the stress associated with her husband's accident? Could it have been her exposure years earlier to secondhand smoke in nightclubs where she once performed? Could it have been an errant gene that suddenly allowed lung cells to run amok?

"Lung cancer is so closely linked up with smoking that doctors and the public are surprised when it turns up in nonsmokers," said Dr. Peter B. Bach, pulmonologist and epidemiologist at Sloan-Kettering in New York. "But they shouldn't be surprised. There are about 180,000 cases of lung cancer a year and 150,000 deaths. If 80 percent or so stem from smoking, that leaves about 36,000 cases and 30,000 deaths a year that are not related to smoking.

"That puts non-smoking-related lung cancer in the same league with colorectal, prostate and breast cancer. If we wiped out smoking, lung cancer would still be the No. 3 cancer killer of Americans."

But factors other than smoking that are known to raise lung cancer risk. Following are some of them.

SECONDHAND SMOKE Chronic exposure to secondary smoke in the home or workplace can raise the risk by 20 to 30 percent. Recent bans on smoking on the job, in public buildings and in people's homes are expected to reduce this cause.

EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS Exposed workers are seven times as likely to die of lung cancer, and those who smoke face a risk of developing lung cancer that is 50 to 90 times as great as that in people in general. Asbestos harms when it is released into the air people breathe, usually as a result of deterioration, demolition or renovation of buildings.

INDOOR RADON Homes built over soil with natural uranium deposits can accumulate high levels of radon indoors, doubling or tripling the lung cancer risk of longtime residents.

OTHER WORKPLACE CARCINOGENS These include radioactive ores like uranium; inhaled chemicals like vinyl chloride, beryllium, mustard gas, nickel chromates, arsenic and chloromethyl ethers; fuels like gasoline; and diesel exhaust.

SCARRED AND IRRADIATED LUNGS People with repeated lung infections — bronchitis and pneumonia — have an elevated risk, as do those treated with chest radiation for cancers like Hodgkin's disease and regionally spread breast cancer.

AIR POLLUTION The risk may rise slightly among susceptible people living in cities with a serious pollution problem.

POOR DIET Though the evidence is far from definitive, a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables may raise the risk of lung cancer.

GENETICS The role that genetics plays in lung cancer risk is expected to grow as scientists continue to unravel genetic factors involved in cancer development. For lung cancer in nonsmokers, there is an increased likelihood of finding an abnormal version of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein. People with a strong family history of lung cancer may share a genetic susceptibility and can develop the disease even if they smoke only a little or not at all.

While women account for an increasing proportion of lung cancers in people who, like Ms. Reeve, never smoked, this statistic may reflect the fact that historically there are more women nonsmokers, not that women are at greater risk, Dr. Bach explained.

But, according to Dr. Jeffrey Port, thoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital, a gender factor may be involved; receptors for estrogen have been found on lung cancer cells that could make women more susceptible than men to environmental insults.

Detection and Treatment

Ms. Reeve's fate was sealed almost from the moment of diagnosis. Although she had had a persistent cough for a year before her cancer was found, by the time lung cancer causes symptoms, it is usually too far advanced to cure. While there has been some progress in treating even advanced lung cancer, the main hope for long-term survival now lies in detection while the cancer is still small and confined to the lung in which it arose.

Lung cancer is likely to be the last thing people with symptoms like a persistent cough or shortness of breath think of if they have never smoked or lived with smokers. Even doctors tend not to suspect this disease in a nonsmoker.

My friend Frank, then 71 and a nonsmoker, was sent for a complete cardiac work-up when he complained to his doctor about shortness of breath. Only when his heart checked out healthy did the doctor think to order tests that revealed a diffuse lung cancer that claimed Frank's life in three months.

There are two broad categories of lung cancer — small cell, which is almost entirely due to smoking, and nonsmall cell, which afflicts both smokers and nonsmokers. Nonsmall cell lung cancer, in turn, is divided into two main categories: adenocarcinomas, which predominate in former smokers and nonsmokers, and squamous cell carcinomas.

"Both adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas behave similarly," Dr. Bach said. "They're all bad."

Yet another type of lung cancer — bronchiolar carcinoma — is becoming more common among women who never smoked, though no one knows why, said Dr. W. Michael Alberts, president of the American College of Chest Physicians. This cancer tends to occur in several sites or in a diffuse form with no solid mass.

There are no reliable early detection methods to screen people for lung cancer that would find it before it causes symptoms and while it is still confined to the site where it arose. Sputum tests to find cancer cells and chest X-rays failed to save lives. The latest test — a spiral CT scan — is under study in a national randomized trial among 50,000 smokers and former smokers.

But even if this test increases survival in smokers, it will probably not be useful for screening the general population, since it generates far too many false findings that require further testing.

Most helpful, both for smokers and nonsmokers, will be sputum tests that detect genetic changes, protein markers or volatile organic chemicals characteristic of lung cancer cells, Dr. Bach said.

Meanwhile, the best way to reduce lung cancer deaths over all — and save 400,000 lives a year — is to keep everyone from smoking.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 5:46 PM :: 2 people are more aware

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The 5 Month Mark

Today it is 5 months ago that Laurianne passed away. It is sometimes hard to believe it is that long. I found the below poem I like to share today. We will burn a candle today.

by Kimberly J. Russell

Pain stuffed inside of me
Can't let anyone near me
Can't let anyone see the real me
Can't let anyone even hug me

All this pain that's held in me
Why can't anyone see the real me
Why can't anyone help me
Why can't someone just hold me

All this pain that's eating me
Can't let go of the pain in me
Can't get this pain from me
Can't get this pain out of me

When will the pain stop hurting me
Why can't I just feel me
Why can't I just be me
Why can't someone take this pain from me

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 3:38 PM :: 0 people are more aware

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Relay For Life 2006

Team Cancer Kickers is back for the Santa Rosa Relay for Life, 2006. However, we have a name change. We are now Team Laurianne's Hope, because of Laurianne's Hope that Calem's generation would not have to worry about cancer. Please visit us to support our team and/or various team members.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 4:54 PM :: 1 people are more aware

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Have This Cough....

I have this cough. I would judge that it was about the end of January that it started, or at least that I started to notice it. Because I remember telling my mom that I had it but it went away at when I visited them in February. And it came back. I thought, well, all the construction at work. It is just a little cough. Then I coughed one night and started worrying about lung cancer. I got up to look at the signs. "Wasn't a cough one of them?" And I found persistant cough and though, "Well, it hasn't been persistant. It comes and goes." Then I kicked Julius off my pillow and thought, "I bet that pet dander is what is doing it." Then I said to myself that if I should be concerned about this, maybe I will get a sign.

The next morning, I was overcome with grief because Dana Reeves died. I told my mom about my cough and staying up all night worrying about lung cancer. She told me to keep an eye on it. I didn't want to worry her, because it is just a cough, right. I mean, I feel great!

Lately, I have been plagued with weird dreams. Monday, it was a dream where I was Buffy the Vampire Slayer fighting off vampires. One of them sunk his teeth into my neck and the voice in my head screamed "I want to live!!" Dan woke me up before I could defeat him, but it wasn't a nightmare. I was confident I would beat the vampire. (I wasn't going to share that dream, because it was really weird and I haven't seen Buffy for months now! Plus, for some reason, I really don't like to admit I enjoy the show.) For hours afterwards, I kept hearing that voice say, "I want to live!!!"

Tuesday, Wednesday and last night, I have been plagued with more weird dreams. Images that linger but as reality sets in they slowly fade away. I told Dan this morning that I need to call the doctor about that cough. He said, "OK".

I just called them. I have an appointment next Thursday. I feel like if I didn't get it checked out, I would be a hypocrite. If you have a cough, see your doctor. I have been wanting a lung cancer screening for preventative reasons and have been questioning myself if I should ask him. I am only 32 years old. But my sister was younger than me. My lips have never touched a cigarette. Well, Laurianne may have experimented as a teenager, but she was a non-smoker. Still, it isn't something I should really worry about right? But part of me knows that I won't have piece of mind until I see my doctor. Lung cancer is already a pretty rare thing for non-smokers. But still, after my sister, lung cancer is constantly on my mind.

And I have this cough.

**Update: My cough turned out possibly be from some irratant in the air. This is what I suspected but even my doctor agreed that it never hurts to get it checked out. If it doesn't go away in a month, I am suppose to go back to see him.**

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 10:11 AM :: 0 people are more aware

Monday, March 13, 2006

Joan's Legacy

There is another lung cancer website that I have been hearing more about. Like my sister, Joan Scarangello was a non-smoker who was diagnosed at the age of 47 years. She lived 9 months after her diagnosis. Below is part of a press release from Joan's Legacy. This organization was founded by Joan's friends and family in her memory. Their focus is to raise awareness and to find a cure for the disease.

(Read the full Press Release from their website)

Joan’s Legacy Rededicates Itself to Lung Cancer Research and Awareness in Memory of Dana Reeve

The heartbreaking loss of Dana Reeve shines a spotlight on lung cancer and the lack of research into increasing survival through earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment.

Dana Reeve, like Joan Scarangello, was one of the 25,000 never-smokers who die of lung cancer every year – of which four out of five are women. Dana, like Joan and like Joan’s mother 20 years before her, was diagnosed late and had very few options for treatment. All three survived less than a year from their surprising diagnosis. Sadly, this is also true for the majority of the 162,000 patients of any smoking status who die of lung cancer each year in this country.

About Joan’s Legacy

Joan’s Legacy is named for Joan Scarangello, a writer and nonsmoker who died at age 47 after a valiant nine-month struggle with lung cancer. Joan’s Legacy is committed to fighting lung cancer by searching for a cure and focusing greater attention on the world’s leading cancer killer. Founded in 2002, Joan’s Legacy is fast becoming the “venture capital” for lung cancer research.

Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the United States, taking more than 160,000 lives each year. Yet lung cancer receives less research funding than almost any other cancer, making the work of Joan’s Legacy even more compelling.

Joan’s Legacy will make grant awards every fall. The foundation also hosts a benefit every November (Lung Cancer Awareness Month), which helps to fund its research initiatives. For more information about Joan’s Legacy and lung cancer, please visit

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 10:11 AM :: 2 people are more aware

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mom's Cancer (The Book, Not My Mom)

Since Laurianne died of non-smoking related lung cancer, I think sometimes it is easy to forget there is the other side as well. Smoking is still the number one cause of cancer. It is still the #1 best preventative you can take in getting the disease. That is why I have smoking cessation links on the sidebar.

On that note, I was visiting Dr. Phil Berman's blog on He hasn't been posting much lately, because he said he doesn't have much news to report. However, he did post about Mom's Cancer. Somehow I had found a link to this book shortly after Laurianne died, but it brought up to many emotions. At this time, I still am not sure I can read the book. The title character, Mom, was a heavy smoker and her situation was a little different from Laurianne. When I commented on Brian Fies's blog, he said (and I hope he doesn't mind I publish it here):
Our situations are a little different in that my Mom did contract lung cancer after smoking for 40+ years. I know she felt some responsibility and guilt because of that, and at least I (I can't speak for anyone else) had to deal with it as well. No one *deserves* lung cancer, but at the same time there's a natural reaction of, "well, what did you expect?" that I tried to address honestly. After getting a sense of who you are from reading your blog, I'm not sure how you'll feel about that.
I think my whole family's feeling on this is that no one deserves lung cancer, even if they did smoke. I know that is my feelings on it. I will admit that before Laurianne's diagnosis, I thought only smokers got lung cancer. In a way, they brought it on themselves by feeding this habit. However, seeing what Laurianne has gone through has changed my perspective.

However, my dad is a former smoker. Lung cancer could have easily happened to him. My uncle, Hans Kennedy, died of cancer that metastazied to his brain in September 2001. And I think in a sense, even at that time, maybe we had the "What did you expect?" mentality. My dad even said to me at one point, "Yeah, but Hans was different than Laurianne because he smoked those huge cigars." He caught himself afterwards, but none of us are so infallable that we don't occasionally lapse back into an old way of thinking. And we don't do this to people who have other types of cancers. Smoking increases your risk of having those cancers as well. And I don't think we should have the non-smokers lung cancer boat and the smokers lung cancer boat. We need a fight lung cancer yacht. We need to all come together and fight this disease and the stigma associated with it. No one deserves lung cancer. It doesn't matter if you smoke a pack a day, sing in smoky nightclubs or are a non-smoker who gets lung cancer. You have lung cancer. And we need research done to stop the disease.

Lung cancer is not a punishment. If it is, it doesn't fit the crime. Even if Laurianne was a smoker, I would still feel the intense pain of her loss. I am sure the Fies family misses Mom incredibly. In January, I posted Jamie Young's article No Room for Blame. She said:
In my opinion, it's extremely unfair and unkind for anyone to say they brought it on themselves. I haven't met a lung cancer patient yet that had any idea what they would go through if they got lung cancer from smoking.

Believe me if you knew what it felt like to have chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, you would definitely re-evaluate the smoking issue. If you truly understood what it was like to not be able to walk through a big store because you were totally exhausted and out of breath? Or, if you had to get a feeding tube because the radiation burned your esophagus and nerves at the base of your brain so badly that you couldn't eat for about two and a half to three months, you would definitely want to quit smoking.
All that being said, if you are struggling with lung cancer or if you are a smoker who has thought about quitting, or even if you are just interested in finding out more about the disease, check out Mom's Cancer. At some point, I plan to read it myself.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 6:47 PM :: 0 people are more aware

Friday, March 10, 2006


After the death of Dana Reeve I was reading some of the 1000+ articles on Google news about it. Some were reflecting on possible causes of her lung cancer. It ranged from don't know to second hand smoke in lounges while she was singing. I got to think and I know for sure that there is one cause which hardly got mentioned and that is the lack of research of lung cancer. Except for a few new drugs like Iressa and Tarceva there is no progress made. We are as far as 5 years ago and there is no screening test for lung cancer. I feel outraged about this. I wish I could organize a protest march in Washington with all the people in the nation affected by lung cancer something similar like the one done for HIV and other diseases. Unfortunately I don t know how to organize such an event. It is too bad that somebody like Dana has to die to bring awareness to something like this. I hope that the blame can be taken out of lung cancer and that a cure will be found.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 10:08 AM :: 1 people are more aware

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lung Cancer Etiquette: Thanks For Not Asking If I Smoked

When your mom, dad and husband email you the same article, maybe it is postworthy. :)

The death of Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve's widow, from lung cancer has focused attention on the disease she was diagnosed with less than a year ago. Reeve, like 15 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer, was a nonsmoker. But the usual assumption that victims somehow "asked for it" by smoking has created an unfair stigma, says Lori Hope, a lung cancer survivor and author of Help Me Live: 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know. She spoke with Katherine Hobson about her experiences.

Do people really ask people diagnosed with lung cancer whether they smoke?

Everyone I've ever spoken to—and I've interviewed a lot of survivors—said one of the first questions people ask is, "Did you smoke?" or "Were you a smoker?" What's so awful about that question is that if you are a smoker, you probably feel horrible about it. Almost everyone who smokes wants to quit—the majority of people, like me, started when they were young and got addicted. Anyone who is diagnosed with cancer will ask themselves, "Why me?" and try to figure it out. The thought that you may have brought it on yourself is devastating—it's not only affecting you but your loved ones. Do you ask someone who had a heart attack what his cholesterol level is?

Besides leading to nosy questions, what does that stigma mean?

Research into the disease is underfunded, and I think the stigma does contribute to that. We tend to believe lung cancer is self-inflicted, and there's a moral judgment about people who smoke. We haven't had a powerful enough lobby [to change that perception], but a groundswell is growing. People like Dana Reeve help. We need people to speak up. It's difficult to admit you're a lung cancer survivor—people continue to judge you. But as more people who never smoked or quit decades ago are diagnosed, the myth [of lung cancer as self-inflicted] will disappear.
(continue reading)

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 2:59 PM :: 0 people are more aware
The First Annual Playing For A Cure - Part 2

(A day late and a dollar short, but here is part 2 as promised. I think it might even be longer than part 1.)

At 12:40, there was a clinic for the band directors. Dan and I took that opportunity to go find a bank and make our lunch. When we got back, we went back to Jamie's sisters and bought some bracelets. We were going to buy some T-shirts for my mom, dad and myself too, but they said the least they could do was pay for our T-shirts after coming all that way for the event. See what I mean by nice! (BTW, I would have gotten a T-shirt for my brother, Michael, but I didn't think he would wear it, so instead I got him a Hard Rock Cafe shot glass, because Laurianne got him one every time she saw a Hard Rock Cafe when traveling.) I also was thinking of getting a wire figurines they had on sale there, but they didn't have a piano player that I could see, so I passed that by. Laurianne played flute first, then she played guitar, but I think she will always be known in our family for the piano.

One of the major visual differences between Division 1 & 2 and Division 3 & 4 is that the morning group (Division 1 & 2) was more casual. Some wore their band uniforms. Some where dressed in casual clothing. I know clothing doesn't make the music, but Dan made the comment to me that the ones that dressed up sounded better to him, and they seemed to care more about the music. When we got to the afternoon group (Division 3 & 4), they were all dress shirts and black slacks for the guys, and nice dresses and slacks for the girls. I think one group everyone wore a nice white dress shirt and black slacks. Musically, the difference between the two groups, from what I understand, is that Division 1 & 2 were not as musically advanced as Division 3 & 4. I found out after the event that Jamie's husband worked at a performing arts school. To me, it also seemed like there were more students in each band, in the afternoon group, though one band in the morning group was also quite large. When that particular morning band left the stage, the drummers got left behind because they got stuck behind some chairs until volunteers came to free them.

After the first band played, I got up to take more pictures of the music stands. I was taking a picture of Jamie's music stand when Cheryl said that Jamie would like to see me. She led me to the back room, and Jamie said they had some food. She asked Cheryl to find Beth and her two sons. I said I would keep an eye out for them as well. I didn't see Beth anymore, but Dan and I went back there and I fixed him a plate. They had salad, lasagna, spagetti and all kinds of great food that was donated by a local restuarant. I think it was called Pete & Amy's but I am not sure anymore. It was excellent food though, and when Dan and I go back to Memphis, I might have to ask Jamie for the name again.

After we ate lunch, which Dan and I really appreciated since the sandwich didn't last long, Dan and I went to listen to some more performances. After the next one, I got up to take pictures again, but instead I ended up talking with Donna Prevost, who is afflicted with cancer of unknown primary, who has cancer in her lungs. I really liked the shirt she was wearing. It said, "I plan to Live Forever. So Far, So Good." or something similar to that. She met Jamie through the same oncologist, and was also very young. I would guess she was in her 30's like Jamie and I. She had moved back in with her parents, but she had such a postive attitude and was so determined to fight the disease. I gave Donna one of the contact cards I had made with my contact informaton and this website. We talked a lot about Donna's illness, Laurianne and how Playing for a Cure was even better than we imagined.

Donna and I finished up our conversation when the next band was ready to perform. When I got up to take more pictures, all the music stands were gone. They were ready to clean up. I was disappointed I didn't get a picture of all of them. But, I do understand the volunteers need to go home too. Next year, Dan and I will have to bring two cameras. Or my parents will have to be there. There was only one band for 4th division, and they also played very well. I think overall, Dan enjoyed the afternoon even more than the morning, and he really enjoyed the morning. He said that Jon Young's band played professional quality. When I told Jamie, she said she woudldn't expect less of them. (She must have been a tough band director. lol) You could tell that all the kids, in all the divisions, really put their hearts and souls into the music.

At 4:20, they had the awards ceremony for 3rd & 4th division. Jamie asked me if I would speak again, and after I realized it was all new people, I agreed. When the awards ceremony started, both times Jamie was honored. The first time her husband came out with some flowers and a plaque, I believe. The afternoon, Donna presented Jamie with a plaque to thank her. They said Jamie didn't want any recognition, but they gave her some anyway. She deserved it. Jamie did a fantastic thing. When I went up to present the Laurianne's Hope award, the two gals that did all the introductions, as well as announced the winners let me know who the winner of the Laurianne's Hope award was. The kids cheered so loud it was deafening when I annouced the winner. It was fantastic. I can't remember the exact school name, but Jamie's husband's school was the one who won the Laurianne's Hope award. I would imagine they knew what the Young family has been going through, as well as many of the other band directors, and it really made me feel good that they cheered so loud. However, it was also very emotional for me, and after the final two awards were presented, I couldn't hold my tears anymore.

Cheryl came over to thank me and we talked about how wonderful it all was. She is so nice and very understanding. She started crying with me. Jamie and I also talked at the end, and I gave her a contact card so we could keep in touch.

I feel so happy and blessed to be a part of this event. Jamie said she was going to keep doing this as long as she felt well. I told her I would be happy to be apart of it next year as well. My parents are talking about going out also.

I took 83 pictures of this event. I am already looking forward to next year. Jamie promised next year would be bigger and better, and you already know how great I think it was!

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 9:18 AM :: 3 people are more aware

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Smoking and Lung Cancer - Perpetuating the Stigma

Reeve death highlights smoke risk
March 8, 2006

DID years of singing in smoky nightclubs kill Dana Reeve, the widow of
the paralysed Superman actor Christopher Reeve?

She died on Monday of lung cancer even though she was not a smoker. "Ten to 15 per cent of people who develop lung cancer are thought to be non-smokers," said Dr James Mulshine from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago. "It was said that she had, in the course of being an entertainer, spent a lot of time in pubs, in nightclubs, in which there is a lot of cigarette smoke."

(Continue reading article)

My husband, Dan, forwarded me this link today from The Sydney Morning Herald. In a way, it makes me a little bit angry. It seems to me that the media is looking to blame smoking as the cause for Dana Reeve's lung cancer.

I think it is important to note that smoking is still the #1 cause of lung cancer. The best preventative measure you can take is to stop smoking or never start smoking. However, there is a percentage of people who do not smoke and have lung cancer.

I told my husband that singer Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet, the media hasn't said, "Could years of singing in smoky nightclubs be the cause of Sheryl Crow's breast cancer?" Because only lung cancer has that stigma. Yet, breast cancer can also be prevented by not smoking.

Yes, Dana Reeve may have sung in nightclubs where people smoked. Yes, it could have been a factor in her lung cancer. But that doesn't mean that someone who has never been in that kind of environment can not get lung cancer.

Like any cancer, lung cancer does not discriminate.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 9:33 AM :: 1 people are more aware

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The First Annual Playing For A Cure - Part 1

Dan and I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to attend the First Annual Playing For A Cure, organized by Jamie Young. Jamie contacted me a while back and asked if she could give an award in Laurianne's name, and asked me what I would want to call the award. I talked with my parents and asked her if we could call it Laurianne's Hope. My parents and I agreed that it was a wonderful name, because of this blog, and because one day we hope to start an organization with the same name.

So, Dan and I began our travel to Memphis on March 3. We arrived at the hotel around 8:00 p.m. ET, which was only 7:00 p.m. in Memphis. We asked them for a 7:30 a.m. wake-up call, because I was trying to recall from memory that the event started at 9:00 a.m. It seemed like a good time and I didn't think it would take long to get ready at all. Well, the motel didn't give us our wake-up call. So we were up at 8:00 a.m. We hurried to get ready, and we still didn't arrive to the event until 10 a.m. It was really easy to find Wooddale Middle School though, and the cars and students were plentiful, which was a good sign.

I went up to one of the volunteers who was guarding the door to the auditorium and said, "Hi, can you tell me where I can find Jamie Young?" She said, "She is over there in the black suit." I asked, "With the green collar" and the nice volunteer said, "Yes, that's her." I later found out this was Jamie's mom. So I went up to Jamie and she knew who I was right away and enveloped me into a hug. She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I made a neckalace for Jamie similiar to what I made for my mom and myself for Christmas. It is a lung cancer awarness charm which I put on a chain. (I later found out that she went to her sisters to have them help her put it on.) She introduced me to her right-hand woman, Cheryl, and said, "This is Laurianne's sister. Remember I was telling you about Laurianne." They asked if we needed any coffee. I sent Dan to the Hospitality Room to get a cup, because he only had one cup that morning, and I started taking pictures of the music stands. I found Laurianne's music stands right away. Yes, STANDS! They had my dad's writing on one stand, along with the Press Democrat article, "What do you mean she didn't smoke?". The next stand had my story. I noticed no pictures, and for some reason, I felt compelled to bring the picture of Laurianne from off my wall at work. I found Cheryl and asked her if I could put it on the stand. She thought that was a great idea, and she gave me some tape to put on the back of the picture. Since my dad did not really name Laurianne, I put it with Laurianne's story. Later, when I was showing Dan, I also noticed my blog entry, "Who Deserves Lung Cancer?" was on the next music stand. I started to read it and realized it was really familiar. Then I exclaimed "Hey, I wrote that!" Dan was pleased with me. When I mentioned it to Jamie, she said she really liked it and wanted to include as much as possible. Hey, it was fine with me! Just a plesant surprise.

Anyway, I sort of lost Dan and could not find the hospitality room. I went to the cafeteria and didn't see him. So I went to the auditorium. Since they were recording, you could not go in during a performance. They were going to be selling CD's of the various performances. The nice volunteer, who I still didn't know was Jamie's mom at the time, though the band we were looking at was Jamie's old band. I couldn't hear them that well, so I went to look for Dan again, and there he was crutching back from his coffee. He needed to wait for it to cool. So, we went into the auditorium. The bands were phenomonal! Every time there was an intermission, for the volunteers to prepare for the next band, I would go take pictures of the music stands. Then I found the jewerlry and T-shirts. And I started talking with the ladies there, and I found out that they were all Jamie's sisters! She has three of them. They were very nice also, and that is when I found out the volunteer who was letting me in and out of the auditorium all this time was Jamie's mom. They told me that Jamie has talked so much about my family and that we were such an inspiration. Which was funny because Jamie has been such an inspiration to us as well. I never thought of my family and I as being an inspiration. We are just doing what we can to raise awareness.

Well, I was going to go back to Dan and then another person asked me, "Are you Laurianne's sister?" I said "Yes." She introduced herself as Beth. Beth is also really nice. I recognized the look in her face -- the sad look of someone who lost someone really special. We talked for a little bit, but then her sons went exploring so she had to go and find them. I went back to Dan and he exclaimed, "You just missed the best one!" This happened twice in the morning. I was surprised at how involved Dan was getting because he can be so picky about music. He loved it!

Then it came time for the awards ceremony. Each trophy was donated for the event and they are for 1st through 4th divisions. The morning awards ceremony was for 1st and 2nd division. I was a little nervous about giving my speech because I hadn't really prepared anything. I decided to just speak from the heart. I got up there and after I talked about Laurianne and how much she loved music and that she was diagnosed at 25 years old, the kids cheered so loud. You can hear it on the video. I didn't even notice until a volunteer said something about it.

(Come back tomorrow for part 2 - The 3rd and 4th division)

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 10:30 PM :: 0 people are more aware
Another Sad Loss

Today the world received the news about the death of Dana Reeve. I took the news personal because she was diagnosed short after Laurianne and her illness had similarities to Laurianne's. She was also a young woman who never smoked and got lung cancer at a young age. With her death I feel like I am reliving a little of Laurianne's death again. It looks like she fought a hard battle and unfortunately lost it. I saw her picture not too long ago and she looked good to me. Unfortunately this disease seems very unpredictable and can claim lives any time. I feel also outraged that there is being so little is being done to find answers to this awful disease. It is too bad that a death of a famous person is necessary to bring awareness to lung cancer. As said before nobody needs lung cancer or any cancer at all. I hope researchers need to take a serious look at lung cancer and that the government needs to spend more money for research. Laurianne would have said CANCER SUCKS.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 2:57 PM :: 1 people are more aware
Lung Cancer Claims More Lives

It seems in the past two weeks, lung cancer has claimed many lives. On Tuesday, February 22, Bruce Hart, who wrote the lyrics to Sesame Street, lost his battle with lung cancer. (I can't find a picture, but I am sure 90% of the world knows the Sesame Street theme.)

On Friday, February 24, just two days after Bruce Hart lost his battle, Don Knotts, who most people would know as either Barney Fife or Mr. Furley, also succumbed to lung cancer.

Dana ReeveThis morning I heard that Dana Reeve lost her battle with lung cancer yesterday. I have been in tears over her death. We first heard about her battle when we were visiting Laurianne last August. I really believed that Dana would pull through and be a survivor. I feel so bad for her son, Will, as well. He lost both his parents at a very young age and in such a short amount of time. Iremember Laurianne said she should write Dana Reeves and Dan Rather (though, she meant Peter Jennings). A few short days later, possibly even the next day, Peter Jennings had lost his battle as well.

Damn you, lung cancer!

UPDATE: If you would like to send your condolences to Dana Reeve's family, the Christopher Reeve Foundation has set up an email address:

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 8:50 AM :: 1 people are more aware

Monday, March 06, 2006

Playing for a Cure - 3/4/06

The first Annual Playing for a Cure was TOTALLY AWESOME!! Jamie is a great organizer. I got to talk with her a little bit, but she was putting out a lot of fires and making sure things were going well. I didn't see anything go wrong. The kids were terrific! Jamie plans to do this again next year, and she said it will be even bigger than before.

There is so much to talk about. I am taking a break right now, but I will be sure to post a full report. For now, here is a picture of Beth, whose husband lost his battle with lung cancer, Jamie, who seems to be winning her battle (hooray!) and myself.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 10:32 AM :: 1 people are more aware

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More Good News!

I got an email from the American Lung Association in Santa Rosa. They are going to publish a story about the speech I gave, along with the photo of the event. They are sending me copies of the newsletter. If there is an electronic version, I will try to post it online, or at least try to scan it and put it somewhere.

We were suppose to go national also. I haven't heard back from that person though. I think I will shoot him an email tonight.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda :: 3:07 PM :: 1 people are more aware