Finding Your LifeLine

LUNGevity Foundation
Sarah (left) and Pat (right)

A lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Support from family and friends becomes a crucial part of navigating the disease. Equally as important to many is support and understanding from someone who has already walked the lung cancer path.

Finding someone who understands what you’re going through isn’t always easy, however. That’s why LUNGevity created the LifeLine Support Program.

We sat down with Sarah (mentor) and Pat (mentee) to learn more about their experience with LifeLine and how it has improved their lung cancer journey.  

 

Describe what LifeLine is in your own words.

Sarah: LifeLine is a LUNGevity program that matches lung cancer survivors who are willing to share their experience with newly diagnosed patients or others who could use some support.  

Pat: It is just that: a lifeline. Typically, after reaching out to Sarah with news about my cancer, or everyday life, I know I am not alone. Cancer not only affects your body; it interrupts life as you have known it.  

 

Why did you decide to get involved with the Lifeline Program?

Sarah: I decided to get involved with the LifeLine Program after I had a little time as a patient under my belt and felt as though I had something to offer to other patients.  I’m proud of the way I’ve been able to find my way to living with my diagnosis without letting it take away all the joy in my life, and I hoped to be able to provide some perspective on that to someone who was struggling.  Also, I know how invaluable the connection with someone “in the same boat” can be and wanted be there for someone who needed that connection.

Pat: Although my family was and is very supportive, I knew I needed to speak with someone who really understood my ups and downs while dealing with cancer.  

 

How did you feel about being matched with each other?

Sarah: I was happy to be matched with someone with whom I share many similarities, in and out of our cancer journeys, as well as many interesting differences.  We never lack for things to chat about, whether it be scans and appointments or family news and pastimes.

Pat: I had never reached out to anyone in this way so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  However, the “match” has worked out wonderfully.  

 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting involved?

Sarah: I would tell anyone who is thinking about getting involved that this program has the potential to enrich your lives in ways you couldn’t imagine.  There’s a real joy to finding a personal email among the utility bills and assorted junk in one’s inbox - I always look forward to hearing how Pat is doing and what she’s been up to. I signed up as a mentor, but our relationship has evolved into one of true mutual support and friendship.

Pat: Each person is different, but I would say, go for it. One never knows until one tries.  

 

Final thoughts?

Sarah: My friendship with Pat began shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into uncharted waters.  In fact, before travel began shutting down, we talked about how much fun it would be to meet in person someday.  Of course that hasn’t happened yet, due to circumstances out of our control, but we still hope to have that chance.  In the meantime, it has been a real gift to be able to weather both cancer AND a global pandemic with a new friend.

Pat: My communications with Sarah have evolved into a great friendship.  We had planned to meet face-to-face just when COVID-19 mushroomed. We are still planning to do so at some point and I am very much looking forward to it. I feel Sarah has been able to pull me out of the depths of despair and has provided hope while living in my new world of uncertainty.  
 

More about LifeLine: LifeLine matches lung cancer patients or caregivers with support partners based on factors including gender and type of lung cancer. Support mentors offer encouragement, advice, experience, and hope to those newly diagnosed and anyone needing additional support through a one-on-one personal connection by email or telephone. Are you interested in becoming a mentor or mentee?

Learn more

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