Archive for August, 2013

Former Redskins Player Starts Cancer Foundation In Wife’s Memory

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

RICHMOND, VA—Friday marks the last day of the first Washington Redskins training camp in Richmond, and to mark the occasion, a former player visited the field to share an important message about lung cancer.

While there’s plenty of action out on the field, it’s on the sidelines that Chris Draft tackles an issue close to his heart—he fights lung cancer for his wife Lakeasha, who lost her battle with the cancer in December 2011.

“Prior to her diagnosis, she was challenging me, an NFL player, to do more,” former Washington Redskin player Chris Draft said.

Like 15 percent of lung cancer patients, Lakeasha never smoked, and Draft says his wife was active.

Draft says his wife’s only symptom was a shortness of breath just days before her stage 4 diagnosis.

“Anyone can get lung cancer, and it’s important that we fight for more research, more dollars so we can make sure more people live,” Draft said.

Ralph Burton, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in December, was told just this week that he was winning the fight against cancer.

“Blood tests, chest X-ray and ACT scan and all were normal,” Ralph Burton, a lung cancer survivor said.

Burton celebrates his second chance, while remembering countless patients like Lakeasha who didn’t make it.

Each year lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma combined. It impacts men, women, all races and ages, and Draft hopes more awareness will save more lives.

“With our campaign, our national campaign to change the face of lung cancer, that’s what we’re fighting for, we’re fighting for the people,” Draft said.

Other symptoms of lung cancer include everything from a cough to wheezing, bone pain and headache.
WRIC Richmond News and Weather –

O’s PR Director battles stage four cancer

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

BALTIMORE (WMAR) – She had champagne poured on her head a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait to pop the cork again when she scores another victory over lung cancer.
See this picture? Monica Barlow is in the middle surrounded by friends. Remember this picture.

“I try to think about cancer as little as possible,” said Barlow.

We cannot stop thinking of a 35-year-old, who runs marathons, eats broccoli, and has never took a swig of a cigarette only to find out she has lung cancer.

“There are no why did this happen,” she said.

She was married for what seemed like minutes before the vow of in sickness and in health soared to the top of the medical charts.

A lingering cough and her husband chased her to the doctor, who said, cancer chased to her lymph nodes and liver.

“Which made it stage four, as bad as it gets,” said Barlow.

Then her family, the Orioles. This year of the birds, became the year of the Barlow – giving her hope.

“Everybody rallied, incredible,” she said.

If the Orioles can show us a miracle why can’t we see a miracle in Monica.

So tomorrow will come and she’ll take a pill that wasn’t available to her two years ago.

That is another sign. Then the next day will come and more after that, and her smile will never disappear.

“Not going to define my life,” said Barlow.

Remember the picture, see all her friends – she now has a bigger fan club.

As we use the standing room only section in her heart to wish her the taste of champagne, when she beats this disease.

For more information about lung cancer, visit the National Lung Cancer Partnership website .
Monica Barlow is a spokesperson for LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s largest lung cancer-focused nonprofit. LUNGevity funds the most promising research for the early detection and successful treatment of lung cancer, and provides information, resources and a community to patients and caregivers. To learn more, go to:

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Orioles ‘Zill Billy’ usher is Swinging at Lung Cancer

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

BALTIMORE (WMAR) – The familiar sounds of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the 7 th inning stretch at Camden Yards brought Charlie Zill front and center to entertain fans as his character, Zill Billy.
“I was playing around one game and put in the teeth,” he said. “I had on a pair of suspenders and turned my hat sideways. I started dancing around, and people seemed to like it.”

An usher at Camden Yards for 17 seasons, Zill followed his passion for the Orioles that dated back to days spent at games with his uncle.
“He was like a mentor to me,” Zill said. “Ever since then, I wanted to work for the Orioles.”
Zill got that chance in 1996, quickly becoming a favorite around the yard. “It’s a privilege to work for the orioles,” he said.
Then, in 1998, after a little coaxing from fans, the Zill Billy was born.

“I’d never have done this if it wasn’t for them,” Zill said. “They created me and got me to do this.”
Zill kept the tradition going season after season, adding new steps and costume pieces along the way. “Each season, I tried to add something to make it better.”

Then in 2009, his life took a dramatic and irreversible turn.
“I had a chronic cough and went to the doctor. That’s when they told me I had lung cancer,” he said.
It was stage four cancer that came with a grim prognosis. “They gave me a year to live when I was diagnosed,” he said.
That was four years ago. In that time, Zill decided to keep dancing and thrilling the crowd as long as his body would let him.
“I believe my working for the o’s was medicine for me,” he said, fighting back tears. “Getting out there, doing my thing… I believe it helped. It helped me a lot.”

Eventually, the effects of the cancer proved too much, and last season during game two of the ALDS at Camden Yards, the Zill Billy knew it was time to give fans his last dance.
“I remember being so weak,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it, but God gave me the will power to go on.”
Today, in Red Lion, Penn., 60 miles from Baltimore, the rhythm of chimes, dancing on a windy morning, replaces the hum of the ballpark. Charlie Zill sits on a couch inside his red brick home tethered to an oxygen tank, fighting for every breath he has left.

“It’s hard for me to walk from here to the bathroom, and I’m out of breath, even with oxygen on,” he said.
He’s physically unable to return to Camden Yards now, but he’s not yet ready to throw in the towel. “I try to keep hope,” he said. “That’s the best thing to keep.”

He’s hoping for the outside chance of a cure and maybe one more trip to the ball park. He won’t be going there to work. This time, he gets to be the fan.

“I’m going to try. I don’t know,” he said. “Only the Lord knows, and I’ll let the spirits move me.”
If you’d like to send cards or letters Charlie Zill, you can send them to:
P.O. Box 604
Red Lion, PA 17356

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Kathy Leiser: Changing the face of Lung Cancer

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Many people diagnosed with cancer ask “why me?” Kathy Leiser asks herself “what if?”
What if she hadn’t moved from Texas to Nashville to be closer to her two grown sons in 2009? What if she hadn’t heard that public service announcement about a Vanderbilt clinical trial looking for former smokers when she was headed to work that day? What if she, who spent most of her life caring for her family and let her own health care needs lapse, hadn’t picked up the phone to join the study?
She believes her guardian angels were looking out for her.

Leiser enrolled in the Nashville Lung Cancer Screening Trial with Pierre Massion, M.D., in 2011 to determine whether testing current and former smokers with a combination of bronchoscopy, CT scan, chest X-ray and pulmonary testing would result in the early detection of lung cancer.
“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me,” said Leiser, a 63-year-old former smoker. “I had some shortness of breath but I wasn’t worried. As smokers, we are aware of the consequences of our actions. I just thought getting all those tests, and for free, was a good idea.”
Three days after testing, Massion called to say they found something and asked Leiser to come back in.

“I didn’t think it was going to be anything bad, bad. I don’t know why but I just didn’t,” said Leiser. “I took my son, Matt, with me because I knew he would remember things that I didn’t. Dr. Massion showed us my CT scan and up at the top of my right lung, there was a white spot.”
The spot was relatively small, only 2.8 centimeters, but Massion said he was 95 percent sure it was malignant. Next came a PET scan to determine if cancer was present anywhere else in her body, and the result was negative. After a consultation with thoracic surgeon Eric Grogan, M.D., MPH, Leiser underwent surgery to remove the Stage I nodule and the upper lobe of her right lung.
Four days later, she was released from the hospital and spent two tough months recovering at home, with her sons taking shifts to make sure their mother had round-the-clock care.

Today Leiser is cancer free, but she stops short of calling herself a cancer survivor.
“I got off easy, easy, easy compared to people that have to go through chemotherapy and radiation. Trying to hold onto a job while undergoing chemotherapy, now that’s a cancer survivor. I’m just someone who had surgery,” said Leiser.
Leiser takes ownership for her years of smoking, but cautions that smoking should not be used to stigmatize individuals and prevent them from seeking care. Smoking is not the only unhealthy behavior people engage in and lung cancer in never-smokers is still the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths in the country.

“I had a chest X-ray the year before my diagnosis, and no one saw anything,” said Leiser. “Without a CT scan, they never would have found it. That’s why I hope that a CT scan will become the standard of care, much like mammograms are for breast cancer and colonoscopies are for colon cancer.”

Lung cancer pill shows promise, CU patient is beating the odds

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

DENVER — A lung cancer patient is beating the odds thanks to a new drug he’s receiving from doctors at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.