As some of you may know, we lost my son-in-law Andrew to lung cancer October 16, 2019. It seems like just yesterday and the pain is still as fresh as that day. We all miss him terribly, as he was taken too quickly and too young - he was only 36. So I walk, that someday no other family should experience the pain of separation and devastating loss.
My brother-in-law Gene was a one of a kind guy - he was funny, sweet, and generous, and a good father and grandfather. He had been fighting a battle with pulmonary fibrosis, and mostly winning it, and having his way. That is until this spring, when he lost his battle and passed away. The suffering he endured was unfair, unimaginable, and so I walk, that no other family is forced to share the suffering, the frustration, and the fear that not being able to catch your breath brings.
My mother-in-law was admitted to the hospital as she was run down and incredibly tired. She had been caring for her ailing husband and doing the household chores normally relegated to a man. Nine days after admission she passed away from lung cancer. Eleven months later, my mom was admitted to the hospital for a persistent cough. Two months later she succumbed to lung cancer. I walk that no other family has children who don’t know their grandma or pop-pop because they passed too early.
Last November 13th, my brother Jerry tested positive for Covid. He stayed in touch with his doctor and did everything he was told, but on November 22nd he was admitted to the hospital. On December 7th, he was intubated, and so our long nightmare began. He was eventually trached and had a feeding tube inserted. He spent several months on a vent, more time weaning from the vent, and today is still in rehab, learning to walk and breathe again. His saga is far from over. Will he need a lung transplant? Only God knows. So I walk, for research about transplants- to make them one day a more reasonable alternative. And I walk that they find a definitive treatment for Covid, as well as the next superbugs that come our way.
In one family, we have seen firsthand 5 of our loved ones struggle to breathe, and know the impact lung disease has on them and those around them. We know how VITAL our lungs are and how precious each breath is, and while there is much we know about lungs, there is just as much that is still a mystery. By joining the American Lung Association, I hope to help raise awareness of lung disease and support the research to advance treatments so that no other family faces these same tragedies. That is why I walk and I hope you will walk with me.