Two people trying to fight the stigma of lung cancer.

August 23, 2010

Every once in awhile you work on an account and meet a group of people that stays with you. It makes such an impact that you not only want to see them succeed, but you want to take ownership in doing all that you can to make it possible.

Almost two years ago our team at Hetrick began a relationship with the then Lungs for Life, now Cancer-Free Lungs (CFL). Amy and Dr. Nasser Hanna started the organization to help provide support, education, advocacy, and a committed voice for those suffering from lung cancer.

We started with a name change, then logo/corporate ID design, and then moved onto their education program, website, and in-school materials. Throughout the process we talked with teens struggling with addiction, patients dying of lung cancer, and families devastated by the relentless disease.

I knew we would hear stories of the pack-a-day smokers, the bar workers, or even the casual “just when I drink” scenarios, but it was how willing the patients were to use their stories as messages that surprised me. The families who shared their pain, the patients who shared how hideous the treatments were, and even Dr. Hanna’s stories of days when he would lose seven, seven patients in one day.

And just when I felt like I was getting the overview of the disease we learned about the cases of people who didn’t smoke that acquired the disease and died a horrible death. That broke every stereotype I had of the disease and made me realize that like any cancer, this could happen to anyone, at any time.

Each year CFL puts on two events, a walk in Ft. Wayne and a 5K-walk/run in Fishers. The events are not a survivors’ walk or run, rather these events offer support, compassion, empathy, and memories for those who have lost or more than likely will lose someone close to the disease.

Last year a Carmel High School student spoke the crowd and addressed the fact that his biggest hero, the strongest person he knew, and the rock in his life was dying of lung cancer. He knew she would not be with him forever, but he would never forget, never stop loving, and never stop believing in all that his mother taught him. You could already see her strength, tenacity, and will in him.

I ask all of you who are moved enough to help others, to at least put CFL on your list. Donate, volunteer, go to the event, say a prayer, or simply keep the hope alive that people like the Hannas and their unbelievably open and honest patients will find a cure.



  1. I just registered my daughter and myself for the walk. Last year’s was one of the most moving events I’ve ever attended. Very sobering, but inspiring to see the strength of the survivors, and the support they receive from Cancer-Free Lungs.

    • Agreed. Thanks for posting!

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