Bonnie is My Hero

So many people have supported me on this journey and I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually.  Truth be told, there are simply too many of you…our world is full of kind and generous people.  But I do want to acknowledge one very special person, a woman who has not only given me invaluable advice and support, but who also knows first-hand exactly what I am going through.

Bonnie Addario is a 7-year survivor of Stage IIIB Lung Cancer.  Like me, she underwent chemo, radiation, and surgery, and attributes her cancer-free status to the state-of-the-art care she received.  Upon recovery, this former oil company executive put her retirement plans aside to dedicate her life to changing the mortality rate of lung cancer.  Her goal is to make survival the norm and not the exception.

In 2006, Bonnie founded the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF) and it is now one of the largest philanthropies devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer.  With Bonnie at the helm, the Foundation is made up of a diverse group of physicians, industry partners, and survivors and their families.  Together they have raised more than $9 million for lung cancer research, education, and treatment.

Bonnie chairs the Foundation, is matriarch of a large Bay Area family, and still finds time to send me texts and emails and beautiful messages that champion my progress.  Before we ever met face-to-face, she enveloped me into her fold, and has been effusive and unrelenting with her encouragement and love all along the way.  When I receive good news, I cannot wait to call her.  When I am not sure of my next step, I know she will offer guidance.

Bonnie says: “Empowered patients live longer.  Our message is simple – We want to live.”  I am presently focused on the demands of my daily radiation treatments, but, in less than one week, I will return home to California and begin working to rebuild my immune system and to regain my strength.  Then it is my intent to put my renewed energy into helping Bonnie do for others what she has done for me.

I love you, Bonnie . . . EmBen

Emily and Bonnie

Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Chair and Founder, Bonnie Addario, and Emily at last year’s “Your Next Step is the Cure” walk/run in San Francisco. Bonnie presented her fellow lung cancer survivor with the “Spirit of Hope Award.”

Gifts from Bonnie

When Bonnie isn’t sending Emily messages of encouragement, she’s sending gifts: robes and slippers, champagne and chocolate, and ridiculously fun things like 5 lb. gummy bears and a pillow of famous lovers: Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Emily and Miles.


4 thoughts on “Bonnie is My Hero

  1. Today’s post was most beautiful in its simple message. Living, is most certainly the goal, but living with grace, dignity, loving support, and fierce determination is a most powerful combination indeed. Perhaps Bonnie Addario saw a glimpse of herself in you, Emily, and how lovely and permanent that will be. For both of you. I love you both for the strong women you are, and certainly for the strong women you will continue to be in your continuing lives. Lucky are those to have you both grace their daily lives. Today I have actually cried tears of joy and hope for you both. xoxox forever

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