Support lung cancer research & awareness
As many of you know, I lost my mom, Huong Thi Phan, on May 14, 2009 after a blessedly brief battle with lung cancer.
Only recently did I learn the appalling statistics associated with lung cancer, which is why I am committing myself to raising funds for lung cancer research and awareness.
- Lung cancer is the #1 killer. It kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, melanoma and kidney cancers combined!
- For every $9 spent on breast cancer research, only $1 is spent on lung cancer.
- 60% of those diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. My mom never smoked.
- The overall lung cancer survival rate (5 years after diagnosis) is STILL only 14.5%…the same as it was 40 years ago!!! Due to successful awareness campaigns and research funding, breast cancer survival is 89% and prostate cancer survival is 99%
- More appalling statistics…
Please help me bring awareness to and increase research funding for lung cancer so that fewer people lose their loved ones to this terrible disease.Join my team or sponsor my run in honor of my beloved mom.
Huong Thi Phan (1938-2009)
The beautiful euology given by my brother on one of the worst days of my life:
Any conversation about my Mom will inevitably segue into the same kind of story. The story will start with “The first time I ever met her, she gave me…” and end with any number of gifts, ranging from cookies fresh from the oven to a squash the size of a small child. It didn’t matter who you were, it didn’t matter where you came from, and it didn’t even matter if she remembered your name. My Mom welcomed everyone the same way – with an open smile, a friendly greeting, and a surprisingly large parting gift.
She was so generous, she never thought of anything as being her own. The fruits and vegetables from her garden, small odds and ends she picked up throughout her day, and even her free time, which carried no value to her unless they could be given away—as a volunteer at the Red Cross and St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room or as a room parent at Mt. Carmel.
It took me years to understand the magnitude of what my Mom gave me and my sister. She spent her entire life working to make our lives better. Every hour she worked, every penny she saved, everything she did, she did for us. The thought of spending money on herself never crossed her mind; if it did, she quickly pushed it aside and concentrated on making sure we were happy. I can’t count how often she would buy us toys, or books, or candy, but I can’t for the life of me remember a single time she splurged on something she wanted.
There was a downside to her self-effacing generosity – it was incredibly hard to buy birthday and Mother’s Day presents for her, because she never told us what she wanted for herself. Year after year, we’d ask her what she wanted, and she’d reply “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.” For the longest time, I thought that was a canned response, but now that I think about it, she was probably telling the truth.
That was how she lived. Mom didn’t find much appeal in wealth, or luxury, or personal achievement. She found all the happiness she ever wanted in every smile on the face of a friend. She found satisfaction in every good day my sister and I had at the schools she worked so hard to send us to. She found joy in every “thank you” and “I love you.” She shared in the joy of everyone around her, and thanks to her selfless nature, she never found any shortage of happiness in the world.
In the end, her greatest gift to her children, as well as the many people whose lives she touched, was her example. She gave without complaint. She gave without any expectation of a reward. She gave without a second thought. Charity was built into her very being, and all of our lives have been enriched because of it.
If we can take just a fraction of the kindness she showed us and share it with our friends, our neighbors, and our families, then they will all be truly blessed. And somewhere out there, my Mom will smile, knowing that she brought a little more happiness into their lives.