By Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance
“One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” John Matthews is a shining example of these words from President John F. Kennedy.
Ride Hard. Breathe Easy., his bike ride across the country to raise awareness for lung cancer, is a testament to the good that an individual can do to lift up an entire group of people.
I first met John when he and his father came to Washington, DC to the Lung Cancer Alliance National Advocacy Summit to share the story of his mother’s battle with lung cancer. I was immediately drawn to his “can-do” attitude and desire to bring positive attention to a disease that touched his own family.
Because of people like John, we are inspired to fight every day to make lung cancer a priority and gain additional research funding to develop new treatments and even cures. The recent flurry of treatment advancements are doing more than ever before to help people battling this disease, but it still claims more lives annually than breast, colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers – combined.
We still have so much to do and need all the help we can get. That’s what makes John’s effort so special!
Unfortunately, there’s a belief that people who are diagnosed with lung cancer somehow “deserve” their diagnosis, even though the reality is that anyone can get lung cancer even if they have never held a cigarette. Lung cancer patients deserve compassion and John’s willingness to share his family’s personal lung cancer story is a bonus for a community in need of so much support.
John’s ride is a decisive action to change the status quo on how people view and discuss this disease. Not only is he honoring his mother; he’s assuming the role of advocate for the voiceless who are not able to share their own struggle with this disease.
Ride Hard. Breathe Easy. has aligned Lung Cancer Alliance with The Bonnie J. Addario Foundation—leading charity organizations on both coasts. Our collaboration proves that there is strength in numbers in the fight against lung cancer. We are so proud to be a part of this collective effort; we are proud to be on John’s team.
I encourage everyone to join us in supporting John as he moves from state to state starting this August. Follow him on social media or donate to this cause. To learn more go here.
We’ll be with you on every mile, John!
All the best,
Laurie Fenton Ambrose
Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance