Sarah Christ was diagnosed with stage 4 lung adenocarcinoma (EGFR+) in December of 2016. After several cycles of chemotherapy, as well as radiation to six small brain metastases, she is currently thriving on targeted therapy. She lives on the beautiful east end of Long Island with her wife and children, where she can be found either in the garden or on the beach.
How did you first get involved with LUNGevity as a lung cancer advocate?
I first became involved with LUNGevity through the Breathe Deep NYC walk in 2017, less than a year after my diagnosis. It was a positive thing for me to channel my energy into, at a very dark time in my life - as well as a way for my family and friends to do something concrete to support me.
Why did you choose to be part of this particular organization?
I chose to be a part of LUNGevity for many reasons but particularly because of the organization’s focus on survivorship. I found an amazing network of survivors through the Facebook groups and attended my first HOPE Summit in 2017. The relationships I have made through LUNGevity have sustained me throughout the past few years.
Can you describe your role as a LUNGevity advocate?
As a LUNGevity advocate, I have had the opportunity to speak at a number of lung cancer events, sharing my story and speaking about important topics like stigma. The organization sponsored me to participate in the Lung Cancer Research Program with the Department of Defense, and I have served as a consumer reviewer three times. In the past year, I have participated in a Facebook Live panel about biomarker testing and a legislative briefing in my home state of New York. I recently signed on to be a patient ambassador with the No One Missed campaign, and I also serve as a LifeLine mentor. In short, my role is to speak out about lung cancer any chance I get!
What is the most rewarding thing you get out of being an advocate?
The most rewarding thing to me as an advocate is the opportunity to turn my personal misfortune into something positive. It gives me a sense of purpose to think that my efforts may change the future of how this disease is treated.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved in advocacy?
I would advise someone who is looking to get involved in advocacy to start in whatever capacity feels comfortable to them, but to then continue to push themselves a little bit out of that comfort zone. If you had asked me five years ago if I could see myself speaking in front of scientists, legislators and large groups of people, I would have surely said no. I still get nervous every time, but I push myself because I feel honored to continue to advocate for not just myself but for those who are no longer here.
Are you interested in joining Sarah in her efforts to drive change in lung cancer? Become a lung cancer advocate by signing up for the LUNGevity Action Network.
LUNGevity Spotlight is a way to highlight people living with lung cancer, caregivers, volunteers, and fundraisers who are making a positive impact in the LUNGevity community. We hope that their stories will inspire and encourage many more to get involved.
If you know someone in the LUNGevity community whom you'd like us to Spotlight, please nominate them here.