Dan Cadigan, MD, is a primary care physician and 6-year stage IV lung cancer survivor in Ohio. He was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 46. He has been a speaker at LUNGevity conferences and is a patient support mentor through LifeLine and an advocate for lung cancer screening. He also serves as a county coroner and is the proud father of two teenage boys.
How did you first get involved with LUNGevity as a volunteer?
I was aware of LUNGevity, but did not have a lot of details about its mandate or mission. I made contact with LUNGevity’s Vice President of Support and Survivorship, Katie Brown, through Twitter, and she asked me to speak at the Regional Hope Summit in Columbus, Ohio in fall of 2018. I spoke with lung cancer patients that day and it was a great experience. It was good to be able to share my own personal experiences and hear the concerns and experiences of other cancer patients. I was then afforded the opportunity to speak at the International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference in Washington, DC this year, which was another wonderful experience.
What impact do you hope your volunteer efforts will make?
I hope that I can provide hope for patients that they can live with and defeat lung cancer. I hope that through our advocacy efforts and increased public awareness we can make this a chronic disease that people live with in the near future.
What was the biggest unexpected change in your life after your diagnosis?
I believe it was the realization that things like my career and possessions were not at all important in life; what is important is the people in my life, particularly my family. I have been able to take each day as a blessing and enjoy my life more fully. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
What is the most rewarding thing you get out of being a volunteer?
The most rewarding thing is to meet other patients and survivors and be able to allay some of their concerns and fears and provide good information and experiences. The people I have met from LUNGevity, the other patients, and the family members are exceptional individuals, and I feel that having these people in my life has been incredible rewarding. It’s nice to know that I can hopefully make a difference.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to get involved?
Start with small steps. Organize a local talk in your community or meet others through your local Breathe Deep walks. Increase awareness just by speaking to people you run into about your cancer honestly and openly. It makes a difference.
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.