Students in Upstate’s Radiation Therapy program are playing an integral part in the annual Lung Cancer Vigil Nov. 14 at Upstate University Hospital.
The event is the third annual “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” vigil at Upstate, and begins at 6 p.m. outside the hospital’s main entrance.
Two students, Robyn Roehm and Chelsea Fitzgerald, are among the speakers for the ceremony, which is co-sponsored by the Upstate Cancer Center. Robyn and Chelsea will speak about their grandfathers’ battles with lung cancer.
Two other Radiation Therapy students, Hal Appleby and Amelia Weimar, will perform a musical number with Elton Garvin, instructor in the Radiation Therapy program.
Virtually all of the Radiation Therapy students helping to organize the event have a family member, a friend or neighbor who has battled lung cancer. The disease is the No. 1 killer among cancers for men and women, and is the third-most diagnosed cancer behind breast and prostate, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The vigil is meant to raise awareness about lung cancer but also, as student Lauren Peterson said, to support those currently fighting the disease and to honor those who are in remission as well as those who have died.
The NCI predicts that 159,480 Americans will die of lung cancer this year, and another 228,190 will be diagnosed. The disease represents 27.5% of all cancer deaths, and 13.7% of all cancer diagnoses. Almost 400,000 people are living with lung cancer in the U.S.
The vigil also will feature stories and words of encouragement from Leslie Kohman, MD, medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center; family members of a lung cancer patient, and a representative from the hospital’s Spiritual Care staff.
Below is a slideshow from Upstate’s 2011 Lung Cancer Vigil, produced by my colleague Amber Smith.