Light-filled luminarias greeted visitors to the Upstate Cancer Center for the annual Lung Cancer Vigil on a crisp autumn evening in November. Indoors, the Rev. Terry Culbertson asked visitors to set their cellphones to flashlight mode as she read from a poem: “Faith is the bird that feels the light and still sings when the dawn is dark.”
Not counting skin cancer, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in women (behind breast cancer) and men (behind prostate cancer) but it is the deadliest. More than half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.
The vigil at Upstate celebrates survivors and memorializes the departed, as illustrated by sentiments on the luminarias. “Keep the faith, Sis,” read one. Another said simply, “Hope. Peace. Love.”
This article appears in the winter 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.