By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/30/12
Alexandra Lista had seen charities and fundraisers for victims of cancer before – but she never heard of one for those diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of secondhand smoke.
So one day the Mount St. Joseph junior goalie decided that – since her mother, Donna-Lee, was a survivor of cancer from secondhand smoke – she wanted to do something herself to help the cause and raise awareness.
The result was to combine her love of lacrosse with the goal of educating others and raising money to combat the disease that her mother fought so eloquently.
So, Laxers vs. Lung Cancer was born, with the help of Mount teammates Olivia Gannon and Dominique Lyzio. The three raised $1,200 last year by selling t-shirts and hair-ties and later presented the money to the Lung Cancer Partnership.
With the lacrosse season arriving soon, the threesome will again be raising money by selling t-shirts and hair-ties to other lacrosse players, and hopefully at camps and tournaments or possible grade school clinics.
Donna-Lee Lista was diagnosed with lung cancer early in 2006, and doctors removed the upper lobe of her lung. She underwent chemotherapy and celebrated five years of survival last spring. Donna-Lee, who sits on the board of the National Lung Cancer Partnership, is active in speaking and raising money for research into lung cancer treatments and helped inspire her daughter.
“My mom was a non smoker and got lung cancer,” said Alexandra. “Of course it was a really big shocker.
“One day, after I saw event after event promoting breast cancer – which is a great cause – I said to my mom that I really never find events for people with lung cancer. Olivia’s grandmother had lung cancer so she was on board.
“You are stigmatized, and in my mom’s case she never even smoked but most people think you have to smoke to get it.
“My mom speaks at events and makes it known that anyone can get it.”
According to the National Lung Cancer Partnership, approximately 220,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Also, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. Lung cancer for non-smokers is the sixth most common cause of cancer, and 67 percent of non smokers that are diagnosed with cancer are women.
The National Cancer Institute reports that there are 69 toxic chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke cause cancer and that 3,000 people die each year due to cancer from secondhand smoke. Alex said the most alarming statistic may be that lung cancer research receives the least amount of federal funding among cancers per death. For instance, for every breast cancer death (approx 40,000 per year) the federal funding is approx $22,000; for every lung cancer death (161,000 per year) the amount spent is $1,500.
“The hope is by selling these items and raising more money, we can do something for the fight to cure this disease,” Alexandra said.
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