Impassioned Lung Cancer Survivors Join Your Cancer Game Plan, Merck to Advocate for Others Facing This Highly Stigmatized Disease


November 29, 2017 7:00 am ET

A vivacious working mother. A motivated college athlete. A career-minded
dad and avid runner. An energetic father and professional
soccer referee. They differ in age, gender, athleticism and careers,
yet each was stunned by a lung cancer diagnosis. Today, the four lung
cancer survivors take every opportunity to right misperceptions about it
being only a “smoker’s disease” and use their voices to advocate for
others who are impacted by the number one cancer killer worldwide.
They’ve joined leading lung cancer advocacy groups, CancerCare
and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and
Canada, to bring their voices to Your Cancer Game Plan, an
awareness campaign focused on helping people with cancer and their loved
ones cope with their emotional well-being, health/nutrition and
communication needs during their cancer journey. The program now offers
resources to help people with lung cancer map out their own cancer “game

Lung cancer does not have the same resources, support and public empathy
as many other cancers. Because there have only been incremental
increases in the survival rate for the past 40 years, unfortunately
there isn’t an army of survivors who can become the public face of the
disease. Lung cancer survivor Taylor Bell Duck wants to see this change.
A never-smoker who was diagnosed at the age of 21, she’s become a vocal
advocate for those impacted by the disease and is breaking down
stereotypes in the process.

“After my diagnosis, I was sad and angry. No one deserves to get lung
cancer. I felt like it had taken so much away from me and that my life
would never be the same,” said Duck. “With my family’s support and
encouragement from my doctors, I came to realize that I survived to make
a difference in people’s lives that have to fight this disease as well.”

By visiting
people can get advice from Duck and her fellow lung cancer survivors on
facing stigma, managing shifting family roles and finding hope. The site
also profiles Duck’s complete cancer journey, how she built a strong
support team, and her realization that she survived to advocate for
others going through the same journey. Your Cancer Game Plan for
lung cancer is a collaboration between Merck and CancerCare, and
five leading lung cancer patient organizations, including Bonnie J.
Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, LUNGevity, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung
Cancer Foundation of America, and Lung Cancer Research Foundation.

Understanding Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within
cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death
worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast,
and prostate cancers combined. In fact, it is estimated that
approximately 155,000 Americans will die this year from lung cancer.
Unfortunately, because most lung cancers are associated with smoking,
lung cancer remains a highly-stigmatized disease. The guilt and blame
associated with lung cancer may prevent people from talking about their
illness and even visiting their doctors for treatment.

“No matter how a person gets lung cancer, it shouldn’t impact the care
they get or the empathy they receive,” said Bonnie J. Addario, lung
cancer survivor and Chair of the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. “As the
community focuses on growing survivorship, patient advocacy in lung
cancer has never been more important. People affected by the disease are
in need of reliable information and resources to help support them in
their journey.”

About Your Cancer Game Plan

“At the center of Your Cancer Game Plan is the person with
cancer, which is why we’re thrilled to work with this group of lung
cancer survivors on expanding this program,” said Jill DeSimone, senior
vice president, Merck Oncology, U.S. “Each of these advocates brings a
shared commitment and passion that Merck and our partners hold for
educating and supporting the community of people impacted by this
devastating disease.”

Your Cancer Game Plan is a resource for people with cancer and
their loved ones focused on the emotional, health and communication
challenges of living with cancer. The online Your Cancer Game Plan hub
provides unique video content including communication tips, coping
strategies, and health and nutritional information, as well as healthy
recipes, to help those with cancer and their caregivers take an active
role in developing a “game plan” to support their journey. The
initiative is supported by Merck in partnership with CancerCare, Savor
Health and 14 cancer-specific organizations – including lung, melanoma
and head and neck cancers – with more than 300 years of combined
experience. To learn more, visit

About Our Partners

About CancerCare

Founded in 1944, CancerCare is the leading national organization
providing free, professional support services and information to help
people manage the emotional, practical and financial challenges of
cancer. Our comprehensive services include counseling and support groups
over the phone, online and in-person, educational workshops,
publications and financial and co-payment assistance. CancerCare services
are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.

About the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the
largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and
patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through
research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s
goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations,
industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families
to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn
lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was
established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and
has raised nearly $30 million for lung cancer research and related
programs. For more information about the ALCF please visit
or follow ALCF on Facebook or Twitter.

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity is the nation’s leading lung cancer organization investing in
lifesaving, translational research and providing support services and
education for patients and caregivers. LUNGevity’s goals are three-fold:
(1) accelerate research to patients, (2) empower patients to be active
participants in their treatment decisions, and (3) remove barriers that
patients face in accessing the right treatments.

LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact
on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung
cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective
treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education
for all those affected by the disease. LUNGevity’s comprehensive
resources include a medically vetted website, a toll-free HELPLine in
partnership with CancerCare®, a unique Lung Cancer Navigator app,
peer-to-peer mentoring for patients and caregivers (LUNGevity LifeLine),
and survivorship conferences. LUNGevity also helps patients find and
navigate clinical trials through our Clinical Trial Finder tool, a
Clinical Trial Ambassador program, and participation with EmergingMed.

Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more
information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit

About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance serves and listens to those living with and at risk
for lung cancer to reduce stigma, improve quality of life and increase
survival. We empower a vibrant and caring community by helping people
navigate the paths of early detection, diagnosis, treatment and
long-term survival. Insights into our community allow us to improve
care, amplify awareness, drive advocacy and lead transformative research
with the vision of tripling the number of survivors in the next decade.

About Lung Cancer Foundation of America

Lung Cancer Foundation of America’s (LCFA) mission is the dramatic
improvement in survivorship of lung cancer patients through the funding
of transformative science, with the ultimate goal of curing the disease.

In 2017, LCFA will be responsible for funding 2 million dollars in lung
cancer research grants to young investigators by the end of the year.
Learn more about the Foundation at

About The Lung Cancer Research Foundation

The Lung Cancer Research Foundation is the pre-eminent national
nonprofit focused on funding innovative, high-reward research with the
potential to extend survival and improve quality of life for people with
lung cancer. The organization’s mission is to improve lung cancer
outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment
and cure of lung cancer.

To date, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation has provided 342 grants,
totaling nearly $34 million to institutions around the world for
critical lung cancer research. In addition to funding lung cancer
research, the organization focuses on lung cancer awareness and
education programs. The Foundation will also host over 50 public events
nationwide through the Free to Breathe Event Series.

The Lung Cancer Research Foundation and Free to Breathe merged on
September 30, 2017 to further our impact on lung cancer research
discoveries. Visit
to learn more.

Merck’s Focus on Cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology
medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck Oncology,
helping people fight cancer is our passion and supporting accessibility
to our cancer medicines is our commitment. Our focus is on pursuing
research in immuno-oncology and we are accelerating every step in the
journey – from lab to clinic – to potentially bring new hope to people
with cancer.

About Merck

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical
company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been
inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of
the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription
medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we
work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver
innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to
increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs
and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of
research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that
threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer,
cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information,
and connect with us on Twitter,
and LinkedIn.

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Courtney Ronaldo, 908-740-6132
Christiana Pascale, 212-257-6722

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