We have reserved this page to pay tribute to the wonderful people we have come to know through their journey with lung cancer. These people are a great inspiration and we thank them for their passion, generosity and wonderful attitude.
On 9 th November 2007 - National Lung Cancer Awareness Day, Kylie Johnston, champion and founder of the Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network, passed away after her four and a half year fight to survive lung cancer. Family and loved ones surrounded
her at the time of her death.
In mid 2006, Kylie and her husband Nick took part in a challenge to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer - this was a hot
air balloon ride over the Simpson Desert . Kylie rose to the occasion and with all her heart and might, achieved success.
Not only were awareness and funds raised, but Kylie, during this journey, became a great source of inspiration to a great many Australians.
Following are some words from other patients and carers whose lives, Kylie touched:
- "Kylie's memory will live on and more importantly through her enthusiasm and drive, others will be helped"
- "She was an inspiration for a lot of us dealing with or having dealt with lung cancer"
- "I received emails from Kylie offering so much support and assistance and this I will never forget".
We were all privileged to know Kylie and to work with her to create this Network. She has left us with a wonderful legacy.
On behalf of The Australian Lung Foundation and the Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network, we offer Nick and the Schofer and Johnston families our sincere condolences.
My Lung Cancer Story
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. For most people this diagnosis is the start of a frightening journey involving surgery, oncology treatments and all the associated side effects. No-one would ever wish to be told this news. Except me! In the end I was grateful for this diagnosis and my story will tell you why.
I was married to an exceptional, kind and loving man for 28 years. He was my confidante, my soul mate and my best friend, and now he has gone and I face life alone.
My husband Fernando was diagnosed with stage IV non small cell lung cancer. His PET scan showed at the time of diagnosis that the cancer had already travelled to his right leg, spine and liver. We were told his prognosis was very poor, but with aggressive radiotherapy and chemotherapy we should expect to have between four and twelve months. Fernando survived 11 months.
Only those people that have walked this solitary journey will understand the bewilderment, pain, anxiety, disbelief and horror at such a diagnosis. Everyone handles it in different ways, but the one common element appears to be ignorance of the unknown. You just don't know what to do, where to turn, who can help you face the new world that you have been unwillingly thrown into. You desperately don't want to be there, but you cannot escape.
This was our situation. We relied heavily on our oncologist and the excellent team of Doctors that he surrounded us with, but we struggled as our knowledge and understanding of both the disease and available resources was limited. As the disease progressed, Fernando's quality of life deteriorated bringing us many more challenges that we were not equipped to cope with.
And then at our darkest hour when our lives were so desperate, I was told that I had breast cancer. Within 4 days of diagnosis I had surgery and then an arduous 5 weeks of daily radiotherapy.
Upon diagnosis, even prior to my surgery the specialist breast cancer nurse explained to me in detail what I was facing. It was such a genuine relief to have someone to talk to who had the knowledge and empathy to guide me through this challenge. Upon hearing my story she also took Fernando's situation on board and helped us both enormously. I was referred to a social worker who helped us arrange for the Blue Care Nurses and home help. The Cancer Council Queensland supplied us with the necessary tools to make our life easier and from that first contact with the breast cancer nurse and tapping into her knowledge base, assistance came from many corners. It was such a different scenario to the solitary road we had faced with lung cancer.
To all those who have done so much to help women and men that face a breast cancer diagnosis, you should feel proud. Believe me; you have made an enormous difference to not only their lives but those love ones that travel with them. The provision of this specialist nurse gave us the greatest gift of being together during his last two months with more peace, allowing us a quality and loving time together.
I would like to plea to all Australians, whether touched by lung cancer or not, to join the Australian Lung Foundation in trying to establish lung cancer nurses in our communities. Often the lung cancer patient is in final stages upon diagnosis making the outcome poor and the need for support even greater. Support Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November and help us create a small wave which will turn into an tsunami!
The 2008 statistics show that lung cancer has the highest mortality over other more "popular" and well known cancers like breast and prostate cancer. The Pink campaign started out small and became such an outstanding campaign, providing real assistance for breast cancer patients where it is needed the most. Now we need to do it again for lung cancer.
In closing, I would like to follow with an article which was written in the Gold Coast Bulletin by a journalist a week after my husband's passing - Fernando touched many in such a positive way and was always generous of heart. Our family is heartbroken at our loss and if telling our story helps others understand the need for awareness and fund raising for lung cancer then I know it is worthwhile. They say that as long as we remember a person's story and repeat the telling of their story, they are still with us. Fernando continues to walk by our side.
Tribute to Senor Fernando Alvarez - part 2
from Gold Coast Bulletin
Trainer gallops off into the sunset
Senor Fernando Alvarez, the man who pioneered equine theatre in Australia and appeared frequently on the Gold Coast, has lost his battle with lung cancer.
Fernando was a well-known and respected horse trainer throughout the world specialising in the Haute Ecole Movements. He came to Australia in 1976 from Spain as Riding Master to the El Caballo Complex in Perth and then Sydney .
After declining the offer to move to America , because of his love of Australia , he started the long and arduous years of work training his beautiful Andalusian and Lipizzaner Horses.
Fernando then amazed theatre audiences by displaying his art on stage with these magnificent animals. He travelled with his show, The Dance
of the White Horses, performing around Australia and was a regular performer at Twin Towns Services Club. He also toured New Zealand
enjoying sold-out performances across the country.
Fernando always said "To befriend an Andalusian horse is a privilege. My heart beats as one with them; it is my honour to show the world their spirit".
Two of his star performers, Cortez and Melosso, led his cortege after his funeral last Thursday. He is survived by his wife Gail and two sons,
Lucas and Thomas, who have inherited his passion and affection for Andalusian Horses......
Print Friendly version of this tribute
A Tribute to Gordon Almeida - Loving family man and giver
1953 - 2009
Gordon Almeida was a dedicated family man with a love of music and a strong sense of community.
A healthy husband and active father, Gordon and his family were completely shocked when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2006.
Gordon drew on his passionate love of life and natural optimism and approached his journey with lung cancer with a fighting spirit and the
dedicated love and support of his community of family and friends.
"Dad was determined to take the lung cancer on - he never shied from any chemotherapy, radiation or a trial drug that was presented to him and
like a soldier he bravely faced numerous scans and needles" his daughter Debra Almeida said.
Gordon's love of music helped him cope with the emotional roller-coaster and the side affects of his treatments.
In fact, Gordon combined his love of music and infectious enthusiasm and organised fund-raising dances for numerous charities including The Clinical Trials Unit for Cancer Research at the Sydney Haematology & Oncology Clinics and Christ to the World- a relief organisation which builds houses for the poor in Sri Lanka .
It was during his lung cancer journey that Gordon heard about The Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network for patient/carer support and started giving to the network.
At the same time, Gordon experienced a deepening of spiritual faith. His prayers and readings brought him peace and strength and provided his loved ones with the hope and determination they needed in their unwavering support for him.
Sadly, on 24 th January 2009 after 2 years and 3 months of fighting, Gordon passed away. He had family and friends singing and saying prayers at his side. His family received numerous flowers and sympathy sentiments
"We were overwhelmed by the generous donations Dad's friends and loved ones made to The Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network in honour of the heroic and charitable way Dad lived his life", Debra said.
A total amount of $2500 was donated to the Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network in loving memory of Gordon Almeida to provide lung cancer patient/carer support and research.
His sweet singing and guitar playing will be cherished and greatly missed by all those who knew him.
The Almeida family would like to gratefully acknowledge the professional care and dedication that was given to Gordon Almeida by Dr Gavin Marx and the doctors and nurses at Sydney Adventist Hospital.
Last Updated (Monday, 18 February 2013 16:54)