Former Collegiate Athlete and Lung Cancer Survivor Finds New Focus as Patient Advocate

"Your Cancer Game Plan"

Lung cancer doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of age, gender, athleticism, or overall health, lung cancer can impact any one of us. Just ask lung cancer survivor Taylor Bell Duck.

In 2005, Taylor Bell Duck graduated from high school and expected to play Division 1 soccer. But when she got to college, her health started to become an issue. She experienced painful numbness in her feet and recurring pneumonia that ultimately forced her to quit the sport she loved. After countless doctor visits and tests, Taylor learned that her left lung had a large mass.

She underwent surgery to remove part of the lung, and during the difficult recovery she often questioned why this had happened to her. But through the support of her family and encouragement from her doctors, she came to realize that she survived this disease to be an advocate for others who are going through the same thing.

Now, Taylor brings inspiration and hope to others though her work with advocacy groups and most recently Your Cancer Game Plan, an awareness campaign focused on helping people with cancer and their loved ones tackle the emotional well-being, health/nutrition, and communication challenges along their journey.

“After my diagnosis, I was sad and angry. I felt like lung cancer had taken so much away from me and that my life would never be the same,” said Taylor. “I never felt more vulnerable than in those moments. But I was able to determine my path forward and find a new focus with the help of my support team. Now I want to support others who may need help taking action.”

Your Cancer Game Plan launched earlier this year with a focus on head and neck cancer and melanoma in partnership with leading advocacy organizations and former pro athletes and cancer survivors Jim Kelly and Mike Schmidt. Now, the program is expanding to offer support, education, and resources to those affected by lung cancer. This effort is a collaboration between Merck, CancerCare, Savor Health, Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Free to Breathe, LUNGevity, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Foundation of America, and Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

We encourage you to visit the campaign’s online hub—www.YourCancerGamePlan.com—to hear more about Taylor’s story as well as tips from other lung cancer survivors on facing stigma, managing shifting family roles, and finding hope.

Blog category: 
Awareness & advocacy

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