Spotlight: Diane Mayer
July 30th, 2012 - by Diane Mayerhttp://blog.lungevity.org/2012/07/30/sp ... ane-mayer/
At 43, Diane Mayer was a busy mom, wife and volunteer in her community of Weston, Massachusetts. A former software consultant with a background in engineering, she now kept her days busy being a mom, volunteering for the PTA and Dress for Success, exercising and staying in shape. When the never-smoker was diagnosed with stage IV Non Small Cell Lung Cancer in October of last year, she was stunned.
“It was shocking, as I’ve heard most people say about their cancer diagnosis. After a couple weeks though, I started concentrating on my strength. I thought that, of all people who would have lung cancer, at least I was lucky to have deep resources in my family and friends.” Diane said.
Diane describes herself as a former “weekend triathlete” with a competitive spirit. She had braced herself for what lie ahead but there were disappointments in finding a treatment that would work to reduce her main tumor. After gene mutation testing she entered a clinical trial for two months but her tumor grew and the cancer spread to the bones and spine. After 4 months she was ready to fight.
Finding LUNGevity Foundation
A friend of Diane’s literally walked into the Breathe Deep Washington DC event and told her about the event and LUNGevity Foundation. Her friend sent her a T-shirt and other materials from DC and called it a “care package.”
LUNGevity is the largest private funder of lung cancer research and is dedicated to supporting patients, families, caregivers and building a community for all those affected by lung cancer
“I was immediately interested in the Foundation. It is extremely important that funds continue to be generated for research. My doctor told me that the genetic mutation that caused my lung cancer was only discovered in 2009. I feel as if I am riding on the crest of a huge, new wave that is going to knock out cancer. But we need to keep up the momentum. Researchers need funding to find and test new potential cures,” Diane said.
Diane has the HER2 gene mutation, which is rare to lung cancer but common to breast cancer. She is currently being treated with the breast cancer drug, Herceptin, combined with the chemotherapy drug, Navelbine, and her main tumor is shrinking.
Diane and her family found a LUNGevity event in their area to participate in- Breathe Deep Boston. She feels that giving to lung cancer research is important because it seems that every month they are making new discoveries.
“It’s important to get the money to those researchers!”
This summer Breathe Deep Boston ran a two week fundraising challenge and the prize was 4 tickets to a Red Sox game on July 16th.
Diane’s family members are big Red Sox fans but her daughter Kaitlyn, age 7, had never been to a game. The challenge inspired them to fundraise earlier than planned through her team, “Diane M”.
Diane won the challenge! She was hoping to win for Kaitlyn and because July 16th, the date of the game, was also Diane’s birthday.
She was so excited when notified that she had won the fundraising challenge, she replied in an email;
“This is SO exciting! I’m on my way to chemotherapy at Dana Farber right now.”
While the Red Sox game was the second of the season for Diane and her husband Kirk, Diane says winning the tickets and being able to take Kaitlyn while celebrating her 44th birthday has been the highlight of her year so far.
Diane’s fight against lung cancer continues.
When asked what has been her greatest source of support, Diane says;
“There is no one thing or person that has been my greatest support. So many family and friends have reached out at different times and in different ways to offer support. I use the internet to communicate updates to over 250 people. Depending on what’s going on in the lives of people who read my updates, they offer rides and meals, encouraging messages, and prayers when they are able. I participate in a support group at my treatment center and sometimes rely on support from the social worker who runs the group. Some days I wonder if I rely on the spirit of hope and use that as my greatest support. Without hope, it would be difficult to move forward.”
If you would like to support Team Diane M and Breathe Deep Boston, please visit www.LUNGevity.org/Boston
If you would like to learn more about LUNGevity Foundation, our research and support resources for those affected by lung cancer, please visit www.LUNGevity.org