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MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute Celebrates Lung Cancer Awareness Month by Shining a Light on Lung Cancer

The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial hosted its 6th Annual “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” awareness event on Sunday, Nov. 16. More than 40 community members, TCI care teams, lung cancer survivors and their families gathered at the Todd Cancer Pavilion to celebrate lung cancer awareness month and to spread awareness by lighting up two cancer ribbons.

The first ribbon was a 10-foot tall white lung cancer ribbon projected on the front of the Todd Cancer Pavilion for the entire month of November. The second ribbon involved community members, TCI care teams, lung cancer survivors, patients and their families “lighting up” their own lung cancer awareness ribbon by placing glow sticks in vases to “shine the light” so desperately needed on this disease.

“People need to recognize this horrible disease as it is not just confined to people who smoke,” said Cora Hews, wife of HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews, who along with her husband attended the event. “There are many people out there diagnosed with lung disease who never smoked. People think this is a “smoker’s disease, but it is not, and it is up to us to draw more attention and give more donations to fight this horrible disease.”

Cora Hews’ mother Tina Booth died of lung cancer two years after a four-year battle.

The “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” awareness event is the largest national and international coordinated awareness gathering for lung cancer – uniting cities across the nation. Long Beach was one of only eight cities in California to host the event which is held to give a voice to the millions of people impacted by lung cancer. It also served as the first public event announcing Long Beach Memorial’s new Lung Nodule Center opening that started seeing patients earlier this month.

“Lung cancer has been long ignored, stigmatized and underfunded for too long. This Shine a Light on Lung Cancer event has helped expand the dialogue around lung cancer, and brought community attention to this leading cancer killer of both men and women, smokers and
non-smokers,” says Debbie Oates RN, ANP-BC, MSN, nurse navigator, Lung Nodule Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial. “This event shows the recent strides we have made because five years ago we couldn’t have anticipated the enormous potential we see ahead in diagnosing the disease earlier and treating it more effectively.”

At the start of the evening, guests and survivors were welcomed to sign message cards attached to glow sticks in honor of loved ones lost, or in support of those still fighting
lung cancer.

Throughout the event, Long Beach Memorial physicians, Nilesh Vora, M.D., medical director,
Palliative Care, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute; and Robert Liou, M.D., pulmonologist, Lung Nodule Center, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, spoke about the impact of
lung cancer, lung cancer screenings and the new Lung Nodule Center and how the community can reduce the stigma.

An inspiring moment in the event came when David Carver, a lung cancer survivor, shared his journey on how he is overcoming the odds to beat lung cancer.

“I am honored to be a part of this event and proud to be alive today to tell my story,” says Carver. “I can’t thank Dr. Vora and Long Beach Memorial enough because I wouldn’t be alive today without their recommendations, support and expertise.”