I lost my mom to lung cancer on March 28, 2005. It’s crazy how 15 years can simultaneously feel like a lifetime and yesterday. She had a sarcastic wit, loved animals, worshiped the sun and loved living in Arizona, was a huge Bon Jovi fan, and my best friend. She was only 56 years old, and although she developed her cancer from being a smoker, I can say with certainty – she didn’t want to die. We need to do more to lower that stigma – she had friends who turned away from her, and treated her like she brought her disease upon herself. No daughter should hold their mother sobbing in their arms because people don’t understand. Her death broke my heart and changed my life. I started volunteering for the American Cancer Society and now work there full time to help save other lives. I am so grateful for the lessons she taught me and the strong woman she raised, and I try to honor her every day. Especially if it means cranking up a little “Livin On A Prayer!”