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In 2013, just days before he was to celebrate his first Father's day, my husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. A never smoker, we were shocked to hear that less than 5% of stage IV lung cancer patients make it to the five year mark. We were willing to try any treatments available, a biopsy revealed that he had BRAF V600E mutation, but at the time there was no targeted therapy to specifically fight it. We settled for traditional chemo and radiation and even tried a drug for melanoma.
But ultimately it wasn't enough. In May of 2016 his battle came to an end, just three weeks before the 3 year anniversary of his diagnosis.
As difficult as it was, myself and our family and friends continued to raise awareness and funds to fight lung cancer.
One year later in the Summer of 2017 the very first targeted therapy for BRAF V600E was approved. It was a bitter sweet day. It was one year too late for us, but I could not help but think about all of the families that just got the good news and hugged in relief. While not a cure, it is hope. Hope for one more hug, one more holiday, one more birthday, until the next breakthrough is discovered.
This is why I continue to fight, for all the families that will come after us, and all of the families that can have hope for their future.