WASHINGTON, July 6, 2015 – Today LUNGevity Foundation named Janet Freeman-Daily, stage IV lung cancer survivor, e-patient, speaker, and award-winning lung cancer blogger, the July LUNGevity Hero. Freeman-Daily is being recognized for her outstanding advocacy work and her role in creating and moderating Lung Cancer Social Media (#LCSM), a revolutionary online community that helps patients become proactive participants in their diagnoses. She became her own advocate and took an active role in addressing her disease by researching treatments and clinical trials. Now, she helps others become their own advocates by introducing them to survivors, connecting them with vital support groups, and informing them of lifesaving clinical trials.
Freeman-Daily’s battle with lung cancer began in 2011 with a nagging cough that resisted several rounds of antibiotics. With neither family history of the disease nor smoking history, she was shocked by her diagnosis of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. After chemotherapy, radiation, and two separate recurrences of the cancer, her chances of survival looked bleak. She then turned to online lung cancer forums to learn more about her disease and the treatments available. There she learned of a new lung cancer mutation called ROS1, one that her doctors were not yet familiar with. She was tested at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and, when proven ROS1-positive, she researched clinical trials and contacted trial sites until she found one accepting patients for the targeted therapy crizotinib. By January 2013, Freeman-Daily’s scans were clear. It was the first of many clean scans that inspired her to help others seek out the research and innovations that could change their lives, just as that access to information had changed hers.
With a deep understanding of how personal research can radically improve a patient’s outlook and prognosis, Freeman-Daily has become a technical translator, utilizing her training as an aerospace engineer to explain the experience and science of lung cancer treatment and research in easily accessible language for patients. She spends her days tracking research and treatments, supporting survivors in online forums, and raising awareness both through her blog, “Gray Connections,” which was named one of Healthline’s top 2014 lung cancer blogs, and through Lung Cancer Social Media (#LCSM), one of the most active health care social media platforms. As the co-founder and co-moderator of #LCSM, she leads patients, advocates, and health care professionals in discussions that develop public support, educate others about the disease, and seek to end the stigma of lung cancer. The combination of Freeman-Daily’s technical skills and her experience as a patient allows her to communicate with both researchers and patients and to serve as a catalyst for discussion between the two. After joining the second #LCSM chat, she was invited to join the founding team, where she continues to lead discussions every Thursday evening. She further advocates for patients by working closely with lung cancer organizations, providing the survivor perspective on nonprofit boards and through speeches.
“LUNGevity Foundation is proud to name survivor and advocate Janet Freeman-Daily as the July LUNGevity Hero for her tenacious nature and her role inspiring, informing, and supporting the lung cancer community. By taking a proactive role in her lung cancer battle, relentlessly pursuing information about genomic testing and clinical trials, she was able to give herself the best chance at beating lung cancer,” said Andrea Ferris, president and chairman of LUNGevity Foundation. “Now she uses her digital platform to give others their best chance at fighting the disease by tracking new innovations, translating the science into accessible information for patients, and spotlighting the disease and its survivors. Her journey serves as a reminder that the critical resources that we make available to patients and survivors can change peoples’ lives.”
In response to the recognition of July LUNGevity Hero, Freeman-Daily shared, “I’m honored that my work has meaning to patients, patient advocates and caregivers, and to be a source of encouragement to others thinking about advocacy and telling their stories.”
For more on Janet Freeman-Daily, see the LUNGevity Heroes blog at www.lungevity.org/heroes-blog.
For more information on LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
About Lung Cancer
- 1 in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
- More than 224,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year
- About 60% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
- Lung cancer kills more people than the next three cancers (colorectal, breast, and pancreatic) combined
- Only 17% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it’s caught before it spreads, the chance for 5-year survival improves dramatically
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.