John Matthews has been a friend and supporter of our family and our two lung cancer foundations for years. Our relationship began when his sweet mom, Kathleen, was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer.
John and his family gathered in major numbers to run in our 5k in Philadelphia that year. They were energetic, enthusiastic and, more importantly, surrounding their Mom with love.
If everyone had a family like John’s we would be a much happier world! They were — and still are — always the largest and the most vocal fundraisers!
John lost his mom in 2011 and just last year lost his dad. Doing this ride is not only about lung cancer awareness but also about family loss to this disease and how they are able to continue their dream to be part of ending this disease to honor their mom and continue her legacy of family and love.
I am also a lung cancer survivor and my family is just as enthusiastic about ending this disease for me and for ALL others.
Why, you might ask, is the survival for lung cancer still so low? It has remained in the teens since Richard Nixon declared war in 1971 on cancer. The war on lung cancer is just getting started and we are leading the way. I so admire all of the accomplishments that breast cancer advocates have made and some day our goal is to have lung cancer survival in the 90th percentile like breast, prostate and colon.
The tides are turning and people are starting to realize that lung cancer patients deserve the same research funding for cures as these other diseases. All you have to do is breathe to get lung cancer. Anyone can get it. It does not discriminate and can strike anyone. Young, old, any ethnicity, any gender. John and his family know firsthand.
Join us in following John across the U.S. to raise awareness for this disease and please help us raise the much needed funding for research for all of these beautiful people in the world succumbing to lung cancer — moms, dads, sons, and daughters; firemen, nurses, and doctors; coal miners, teachers, CEOs, and farmers.
Our goal is chronically managed lung cancer by 2023. Yes, it is a big goal; together we can achieve it!
Bonnie Addario is a lung cancer survivor and chair of the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.