Last month, in honor of our milestone Healthgist birthday we put out the call for your hero stories to feature. A clear winner emerged and the selection committee unanimously decided to feature Emily Bennett Taylor’s submission.

Her true story about her own lung cancer diagnosis at a young age and where she reached out to find hope touched us. The courage and strength of these women resonated with us as we know it will with you.

Thank you Emily for sharing your life, the valuable information and the impact your health hero; Bonnie has had on your life. We trust that your story will help our Healthgist gals, their friends and their families.

Here is Emily’s story (in her own words) and her tribute to her health hero; Bonnie:

I was 28-years-old when I was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. It was a terrifying and confusing time in my life. I was athletic, healthy, and I had never smoked.

Bonnie J. Addario, 10 year lung cancer survivor and founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, came into my life at a time when I felt very lost. She set me on the right path for treatment and welcomed me into her family.

Bonnie J. Addario is my health hero.

She was diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer in 2003 after being misdiagnosed for more than a year. She wasn’t even given an early detection screening test despite being in a high-risk category.

When she found out that the 16 percent survival rate for lung cancer patients had been the same for 45 years she was floored. That shocking statistic spurred her to start the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF).

For Bonnie, running the ALCF is a labor of love. It is a personal investment for her; you can see her passion and love for lung cancer patients through the ALCF’s work across the nation and world.

In Bonnie’s own words,

“If everyday a jumbo jet filled with 438 people dropped out of the sky, don’t you think people would be freaking out? Maybe not after the first day, but the second, the third…

By the end of the week there would be a national outrage. Well, every day in the U.S. 438 people die of lung cancer. Where’s the outcry?” 

Bonnie’s goal with the ALCF is to address lung cancer patients’ unmet needs. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, there was no support and no information about young lung cancer patients and no research.

Now the ALCF, and its sister organization, the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, is working on the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer study to determine why young, healthy adults like me are being diagnosed with lung cancer.

This is in addition to their already robust array of programs designed specifically to help lung cancer patients on their journey through diagnosis and treatment.

For years Bonnie Addario and her foundation, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), have been giving a voice and a plan of action to lung cancer patients.

As an outspoken supporter for the ALCF, my fight against lung cancer is not just limited to my personal fight. Bonnie’s Foundation has given me the opportunity and platform to reach and help so many others.

I am so grateful to Bonnie for the opportunity to change lives just like she changed mine.

Emily and Bonnie, we are in awe of you both. Keep up the good work of empathy, support and advocacy for everyone fighting the number one cause of cancer death- Lung cancer. You both are Healthgist heroes and we say enjoy a spa treat on us.

Want more women’s health advice and stories from female doctors in the trenches with you? Don’t miss another issue of Healthgist. Join us below.


About the author

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Dr. Carol

Dr. Carol- doctor, wife, mom and maker PB&J!
One of my passions is to help people Embrace change, Try new things and be BOLD for a healthier and balanced life!


  • I think a lot of people incorrectly assume that lung cancer is completely preventable and that if you aren’t a smoker, you won’t have it. Thanks for sharing Emily’s story!

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