Suzanne Shefska: A lung cancer hero

Zach'sfamilycroproundedWhen I was a college freshman, my mom, Suzanne was diagnosed with late stage Non Small Cell Lung cancer. Her symptom? Noticing that the stairs leading to her special education classroom in inner city Baltimore had become more difficult to climb.

After her diagnosis, I dropped out of school, moved back home and dedicated my time to being an advocate, researcher and caretaker for her.

My dad and my sister, Dara, and I each fell into different roles, all with the goal of supporting Suzanne however Suzanne Shefskapossible.  Through persistent research, Suzanne learned of special genetic testing available at nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital which would discover the ALK+ mutation present in her cancer.  This discovery led to a specialized medical treatment which gave our family two years longer than initial expectations.

Sadly, my mom Suzanne passed away last summer.  She was 64.

To honor my mother’s memory, I’ve become actively involved with Lung Cancer Foundation of America (LCFA) whose mission is simple: to raise both the funds and the national profile of lung cancer.  No family should have to experience what ours did.  I am committed to doing whatever I can to raise awareness and increase survivorship…but I cannot do it alone.

Lung cancer kills nearly 160,000 people every year.  However, awareness and early detection increase the likeliness of survival by a demonstrable 55%! Chances are good that you know someone who has been affected by lung cancer.  

Through the generosity of its donors, LCFA has, in its 10-year history, been able to award $2,289,000 in lung cancer grants.

These grants have led to groundbreaking discoveries in:

  • Early detection
  • Targeted therapies
  • Immunotherapy

Please join me in the fight against this devastating disease. Please donate to Lung Cancer Foundation of America and help researchers find treatments to give more families more time together.

Donate to Lung Cancer Research