Profiles in Lung Cancer Day 18 - Gail Lemaire

Gail Lemaire: "I have 30% lung capacity and I'm still laughing my head off!"

In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a group of lung cancer bloggers have gotten together to show the many faces of lung cancer, one for each day of the month.

Today, meet Gail Lemaire, who has been beating lung cancer for 23 years. Now THAT brings hope to the rest of us!

Gail, what is your connection with lung cancer? “I am a survivor of lung cancer five separate times over the past 23 years. I have also had breast cancer twice, and thyroid cancer twice.” Gail is also an advocate for others with lung cancer.

Why do you think you’re still alive???!!! “First, I have the most unbelievable husband in the world. He is there for me every minute of every day. It seems doubtful that I could have made it through all of these difficult illnesses - cancer, surgery, treatments, and thousands of tests, etc., without his love and support. Next, I believe in the power of positive thinking. I want to LIVE my life, because I am the luckiest, most blessed, happiest, most contented woman you could ever meet! I’m thankful for every minute of every day that I’m alive. Also, God keeps me here for some purpose, and I’m still trying to figure out what that is. I hope I'm doing it. Of course, good treatment and good doctors are a very important part as well.”

Volunteer work? "I helped form a lung cancer support group at my hospital in 2010, which I still coordinate and co-lead.  I’m also an American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery (breast cancer one-to-one support) volunteer through my breast cancer doctor’s office. For the past 15 years, I have recorded a Sunday news radio broadcast for a Blind and Learning Disabled audience. Sadly, that agency has now closed. I also do other occasional activities, like volunteering at LUNGevity’s annual "Breathe Deep" fun Walk/Run."

Why all these different volunteer activities? “These Volunteer positions are the most rewarding work I could ever imagine.  Certainly, I feel better and get more out of working with other cancer survivors than any help or assistance that I could possibly provide to them.”

What does a typical day look like for you? “I am lucky enough to wake up each morning to my darling husband giving me a cup of coffee in bed!!!  I admit it, I'm spoiled!  I go to the hospital quite a bit for tests and treatments.  I meet up with other cancer survivors - and also do the "ladies who lunch" thing. I stay busy with my Bunko group , my book club,  my breakfast club, and my fine dining group. I also spend time with the LUNGevity group online, as well as a few others.  There are so many places online to share information about our health and wellness.” 

 What is something that people may not know about you? "I have 30% lung capacity and I’m still talking my head off!!!  I haven’t run any marathons, though. My husband and I are captive slaves to our 10lb. rescue/adopted dog, who has us perfectly trained to her liking."

What do you want people to know about lung cancer?   "If I tell someone I have Lung Cancer and they ask me "did you smoke or do you smoke?" it is very hurtful, and it infuriates me. It is an insult to imply if you were a smoker you brought on Lung Cancer yourself.” Also, in the immortal words of Sir Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up!"

What brings you hope?  "A doctor told me that we have learned more about Lung Cancer in the past 5 years than we have in the past 50 years.  That's hopeful!"

For yesterday’s profile of Kim Ringen, see

For tomorrow’s profile of Anne Gallagher, see

For a link to all of the November profiles, see