Lung Cancer Survivors Stories

The Lung Cancer Survivor stories presented on this page are stories of courage, stories of triumph over unbelievable adversity, stories of HOPE. Many of the people highlighted in these stories had their first brush with this disease via a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis.  Yet, through the advances in lung cancer treatments brought about by transformative lung cancer research, these lung cancer survivors continue to inspire us by living their lives in the way they want.  We are honored they have shared their stories with Lung Cancer Foundation of America.

Donna-Lee Lista

My name is Donna-Lee Lista, I’ve been married to Ray for over 30 years and I’m mother to two daughters:  Caroline and Alexandra.  After having my yearly scan in February 2014, I am now an 8 year lung cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at age 47 on January 19th 2006.  It was an incidental find […]

Ivy Elkins

In December 2013, Ivy Elkins was diagnosed at age 47 with EGFR positive stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to her bones and brain. She has been treated successfully with targeted therapy medications since her diagnosis, thus allowing her to lead an active life and handle her lung cancer as a chronic disease. Ivy […]

David Sturges

An attorney and lung cancer survivor, David was diagnosed 22 years after he quit smoking and a little over one year after he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. His favorable “score” for a routine heart scan in 2002 was tempered by an incidental notation of a possible nodule on the lower lobe of his right lung. Immediate […]

Dr. Michael Weitz, M.D.

I am blessed. I have an incredible wife and 3 wonderful boys. I’m a doctor and practice emergency medicine. But in the blink of an eye, our world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. I was 49 years old and basically given 4-8 months to live. We cried together, […]

Laura Greco

Laura Greco: Lawyer, mother and lung cancer survivor: Laura Greco is determined to fight cancer with everything she’s got, to be here for her children and husband. She has Stage 4 cancer following an initial diagnosis of Stage 3A ALK positive lung cancer in 2015. She was treated and had no evidence of disease for […]

Barbara Marder

To look at her, 74-year-old Barbara Marder is the picture of health. She plays golf, loves to swim, snorkel, and kayak. She has traveled extensively to Africa, South America, China, Japan and Spain. Closer to home, she regularly visits national parks throughout the country. She’s involved in theatre groups, her church, book club and bridge […]

Donald Stranathan

In September of 2006, I was doing volunteer work at a local prison and went in for an x-ray for a standard TB test; they saw a shadow on my left lung. Over the next year they did a few CT scans, and then a PET scan. The spot on my lung was not hot, […]

Janet Freeman-Daily

Janet Freeman-Daily, MS, ENG, is a writer, science geek, and lung cancer patient/activist who was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in May 2011. Despite two different combinations of chemotherapy and radiation, her cancer became metastatic. Thanks to information obtained in online patient communities, she arranged to have her tumor tissue tested for newer molecular markers, […]

Corey Wood

I am a 23-year-old girl who is beating stage IV lung cancer. Just 2 weeks after graduating from UC Berkeley, I was walking down a street in San Francisco when I received an unexpected phone call. “Corey, you have adenocarcinoma. You need to see the doctor tomorrow.” I Googled the foreign word – “The most […]

Linnea Olson

Linnea knew something was wrong. She just couldn’t get anyone to believe her. It was 2001, and she didn’t feel good. Linnea felt weak, sick, had pronounced shortness of breath, and a chronic cough. As a non-smoker, lung cancer was not an immediate consideration for her doctors.She was diagnosed with adult onset asthma. But she […]

Lysa Buonanno

Lysa Buonanno had returned to college and had just graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree when back pain that had been bothering her for months forced her into the emergency clinic. She asked to look at the Xrays of her lungs and noticed they were cloudy. She was transferred to the hospital where an […]

Virginia Purdy

My story starts early in the year of 1999. I was having trouble with my shoulder. When I was at work, I could not get things off the shelves without being in a lot of pain. I went to the doctors and they sent me to physical therapy to do exercises. That did not help […]

Dusty Donaldson

One beautiful Tuesday morning in September, the doctor said, “I am very sorry to tell you but you have lung cancer.” We were shocked. Even the doctor was shocked. That was in 2005. Little did I know how those words would change my life. In fact, little did know about lung cancer. Since then I […]

Missy Petersen

Missy is a 47 year-old mother of two who teaches kindergarten, has never smoked, and who had the training and the endurance to run a half-marathon. In 2009, Missy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer, after she had lost her voice and suffered intense chest pains. Her prognosis was grim: the cancer had spread […]

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