Like most movements, this one starts with a single story.  When I was 18, my mother, Suzanne Corrales, had a seizure in a salon chair. After a series of tests, my 47 year old, non-smoking, healthy and active mom was told she had lung cancer. Her early symptoms of unexplained coughing had been misdiagnosed 6 months back. Unfortunately by then the cancer had spread to her brain, and she had a 2% chance of surviving 5 years.

After her diagnosis, she struggled with losing her hair, severely burnt skin from radiation, and the toll treatments took on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Despite the battle, she smiled her way through it all, remaining graceful, positive and beautiful until her very last breath.

One struggle she did not expect was the reaction people had when she shared her diagnosis. No, she did not smoke, but she found herself defending the disease. She felt people who do smoke didn’t deserve the disease either. We realized she was part of a unique category of cancer patients: the deadliest form with the worst stigma. Even more, she was part of a group not associated with lung cancer and became victim of the stigma. After she died, the issue continued to brew inside me. Why isn’t there a movement? Can it start with one person?

Everyone has a story. Please share yours here, and help add a face to the disease.

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