Lost A Lung, Gained A Mission

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The doctors thought I had inhaled a peanut. But I kept getting pneumonia. Finally, I went to a different hospital and the diagnosis was lung cancer.

I was only in first grade when doctors took out one of my lungs. All I remember is waking up and a machine was breathing for me. It took three months to recover.

When people think of kids and cancer, they think of leukemia — not lung cancer. New genomic studies are trying to figure out why healthy, young people who’ve never smoked are getting lung cancer in the first place.

A few years ago, I went to camp for kids who had survived cancer and for kids who are still fighting it. I would tell the kids going through chemo, “If you feel alone, you can talk to me.” I want to be a voice of hope for other kids because I’m a survivor. Now I’m raising money for research.

My generation is going to be affected by lung cancer, and we’ll be the next ones who can donate to the cause. Hopefully future research will help doctors use even better treatments for kids like me.


Gabby Wilson is a participant in the Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Study.

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