Cancer can sometimes bring people together. Three Emory cancer survivors who became friends through their shared experience will travel to Austin, Texas, next week to meet Lance Armstrong and attend the first "LiveSTRONG Summit" on survivorship and advocacy.
Julie Whitehead, Pat Lemeshka and Sherry Meltz are cancer survivors and volunteers at Emory's Winship Cancer Institute. They learned about the summit and applied to the Lance Armstrong Foundation for the few scholarship opportunities available. The Foundation selected all three as delegates and will pick up the tab for registration, travel and hotel accommodations for the event, which will be held October 27th through October 29th.
"Lance Armstrong is a hero to the cancer community," says Julie Whitehead, who has battled ovarian cancer. "He is a true survivor, and he has made it his life's work to ensure that others survive. I applied for the scholarship because I'm interested in giving people hope. I want to foster that interest through learning about how I can assist cancer survivors."
The conference, hosted by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, includes a series of informational sessions on the challenges facing cancer survivors and their diverse needs. The summit will help attendees develop goals and a plan of action as potential leaders in the cancer survivorship movement. Speakers will include Lance Armstrong, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, author Jim Collins, and chair of the President's Cancer Panel, LaSalle D. Leffall, MD.
"We are all thrilled to have been accepted as delegates," says Lemeshka, who is a lung cancer survivor. "Lance Armstrong teaches those of us living with this challenging disease to not only be happy with our own survival but to reach out to and help others embrace the hope and probability of their survival."