By Lynne Eldridge MD
Originally published October 31st, 2011 on About.com
Lung cancer needs to be noticed. And I can't think of a more roaring way than lighting up Niagara Falls.
Sound like a fantasy? It would have been for me. But my friend Christine Dwyer didn't let words like "impossible" stop her.
On Wednesday November 16th, Niagara Falls will be illuminated with white lights in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This amazing event will take place from 8 to 8:15 pm and 9 to 9:15 pm EST.
Check out the event on Facebook:
If you don't happen to live near the falls, you can still take part in the action. Via live webcam you'll have the opportunity to participate in the festivities from the comfort of your own home. Here are 3 links for the live feed:
American Falls Live Webcam
Niagara Falls Webcam
Falls View Cam
In person, you can witness the event either from Niagara Falls State Park, NY, or from Niagara Falls Park, Ontario, Canada.
Eldridge: So how did this come about?
Dwyer: In the wake of Steve Job's death, I love stories about how one person with a hope and a vision can make a difference in the world. Christine did just that. Having read an article that spoke of Niagara Falls being illuminated in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month she turned -- not pink -- but green. Green being the envy she felt that efforts to raise awareness for lung cancer have lagged behind those for breast cancer.
Yet instead of getting upset, she followed the advice she had given to others in the past. "If you don't like something, do something to change it!"
So she sat down and wrote an email. She knew it was a long shot but thought "hey," she had been turned down and told NO on more than one occasion. What did she have to lose?
Later her cell phone rang. The voice on the other end told her that he was calling regarding her email and wanted to know what day in November she would like to have NIAGARA FALLS ILLUMINATED IN WHITE FOR LUNG CANCER AWARENESS!
Her reaction? She is bursting in excitement and pride and a sense of thankfulness that is indescribable...
You see, like so many of us, Christine's life has been touched by lung cancer. To quote her, "once you are touched in any way by lung cancer, you truly realize how wide spread and non-discriminating it is." Christine lost her step grandfather to lung cancer when she was just 17. She lost a friend when he was 31 (a never smoker) just 3 months after his diagnosis. More recently she lost her step dad as well as her best friend Patti from the same disease. She knew she had to do something, and that's how Make Some Noise for Lung Cancer Awareness came to be.
My reaction? A deep sense of gratitude for Christine's efforts, and a new sense of empowerment as we all work to raise awareness and funding for the number one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the world.