In 2005, when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I immediately recognized the great need for awareness about uncommon lung cancer facts, early detection, and compassion for people impacted by the number one cancer killer. After volunteering with various nonprofit organizations trying to make a difference, I founded the Dusty Joy Foundation (LiveLung).

Our organization serves the dustylung cancer community and helps raise awareness about lung cancer and screening in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. In the early years following my diagnosis, there was little hope for people with lung cancer. In recent years, however, everything has dramatically changed.

The following are a few examples of how research and advocacy breakthroughs have made significant contributions to people living with lung cancer: (1) the National Lung Screening Trial gave us the evidence needed to develop lung cancer screening protocols, which are now accepted and covered by insurance; (2) the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act required the National Cancer Institute to provide a framework for focusing on the best research approach for attacking the two deadliest cancers, lung cancer being the deadliest; and (3) targeted therapy that allows patients to live longer and better lives.

The need is still very great. There is still so much work yet to be done, so many discoveries yet to be made. But finally lung cancer is on a positive trajectory.