In Loving Memory

Jack and Randy Willis--Gone from our sight, forever alive in our hearts
Jack and Randy Willis--Gone from our sight, forever alive in our hearts

Jack and Randy Willis

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello My Friends,

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month so I am doing my annual fundraiser. I hope you will join me in supporting the GO2 Lung Cancer Foundation.  They have made incredible strides towards achieving government funding for lung cancer research. This year they were able to lobby Congress and got a $20 million bill passed to help fund lung cancer research! 


My husband Jack Willis, was 54 years old when he lost his battle to lung cancer. We had been married 27 years. Our son was 19 and our daughter, 22, when they lost their dad. He has been gone 16 years now. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss our happy life together. We loved to mountain bike together or float the river and fish, and spend time with our family. He was the love of my life! 


Our journey with lung cancer lasted just 9 months. It is a vicious, swift, devastating disease! He died on Dec 23rd, 2004 - a date and a day that is seared into my memory. Not long after he died, my daughter said to me, ”I just want everything to go back to normal”. Because of his death, life would never be the same, we had to learn “the new normal”.


I realized after I lost Jack that lung cancer was the number one cancer killer in the world, yet it received 0 dollars in federal funding! I couldn’t believe it! His chances of survival where no better than his father, Earl Willis, who had died of lung cancer in 1990, or his aunt who died in 1981! All told, we have had 6 family members touched by this disease. I realized then, a few things:

  • The stigma attached to lung cancer had caused this lack of funding.
  • That I had to make a difference for others so they didn’t have the same hopelessness that we had.
  • That I wanted to honor Jack’s memory and be his voice in this fight.


So, I got online and found the closest fundraising event to me for lung cancer was in Virginia Beach, 2 and half hours from my home. I have held a fundraiser every year since 2005. In that time I lost my mother to lung cancer, my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer, my brother in law, Randy Willis died from stomach cancer. 


The statics are still dismal for survival and that is why we must persevere and continue the fight by raising money, changing perceptions and removing the stigma. Just take a look at these facts below: 

Lung Cancer Facts
This Year 228,820 Americans will be Diagnosed with Lung Cancer.

Lung Cancer is the Leading Cause of Cancer Death in the U.S.

Lung Cancer Claims More Lives Annually than either Colorectal, Pancreatic, Breast, or Prostate.

Nearly 20 Percent of Men and Women Diagnosed with Lung Cancer Are Never Smokers


We are the ones responsible for making it happen, no one else! Don't think you can rely on the government….I naively thought that cancer research was funded fairly by the powers to be, but that is not the case. It is up to us to be the voice for our loved ones.

Thank you for visiting my page! Any help you can give is appreicated! 

Love,

Cathy

 

The GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer (a merger of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Lung Cancer Alliance) s a place where everyone impacted by lung cancer finds personalized care, powerful connections and purposeful collaboration—uniting around shared goals to empower people, increase survival, drive innovative research and transform the future of lung cancer.

The funds we collect will advance their mission to transform survivorship by improving the lives of those vulnerable, at risk, and diagnosed with lung cancer.

 
 
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