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Meet the HOPE Summit Ambassadors!

This year, a special team of HOPE Summit Ambassadors will be available before and during the conference to help first-time attendees feel welcome, navigate the sessions and special events, and make connections. Our friendly ambassadors are alumni who have attended previous conferences. They can answer questions, share their experiences, make introductions, and help you get the most out of your HOPE Summit experience. If you would like to connect with a HOPE Summit Ambassador, please email

To help you get to know them, we asked each ambassador to answer these three questions:

  1. Why are you returning to HOPE Summit?
  2. What advice do you have for first-time attendees?
  3. What else would you like people to know about HOPE Summit?

Plus a fun fact about themselves!

Alisa B., New York
Alisa B.

2000 - Stage IIIb (EGFR),
2021 - Stage Ia (KRAS G12C)

Fun fact: I am a Disney World freak!

In-person HOPE Summits: I never missed any. I think the first one was in 2011?

Why are you returning? To learn about the latest treatments, to network with health professionals, and most importantly, to see the friends I have made in the lung cancer community and other who I have not met yet. We are a special community and we all understand each other and care about each other.

Advice for new attendees: Take your time and think about which sessions you want to attend, everything is optional. You never have to feel pressured to do anything - this weekend is for you and what you want to get out of it. Don't worry about being a first-time attendee, there will be many other newbies and plenty of us "oldbies" around, and you will end up feeling like you have known many of us for a long time. There will be a lot of laughs, and tears too. Happy tears from stories of hope, and maybe tears just from the emotion of being there. We all feel it. But the laughs and shenanigans outweigh everything. Attending HOPE Summit for the first time was a life-changer for me. I look forward to meeting you all!

What else to know: Even if you attend HOPE Summit by yourself, you will not be alone - we are here to welcome you and share. You will leave feeling more empowered and knowing you have an extra "family" that cares!

Dusty D., North Carolina
Dusty D.

Diagnosed in 2005 with stage 1B NSCLC

Fun fact: I was a pilot in training and soloed a small 2-seater airplane. I had more than 100 hours logged and passed my written exam with “flying colors.” But I lost my  nerve one day after the engine of the plane I was flying alone caught fire. No one was harmed. But maybe the excitement was just a bit too much. Then there was the time I was scuba diving and was left at the bottom of the sea … but that’s another story.

In-person HOPE Summits: I have attended every Summit except the first one and the one in 2023. Not sure how many that is!

Why are you returning? The Hope Summit is like a Homecoming! It’s not only a time to learn about new treatment options and ways to advocate, it’s a time to reunite with old friends and make new ones.

Advice for new attendees: Try not to be shy. You will see people hugging and happy to see each other, but next year that will be you! In fact, before the end of this year’s Summit that will be you!

What else to know: This is the first time LUNGevity is hosting the Hope Summit in Atlanta. I think it is going to be a lot of fun discovering the area!

Kris K., Boston
Kris K.

Former care partner for husband Dave, diagnosed with stage IV EGFR+ lung cancer in May 2012. He lived fully during his 7-year trajectory, participating in 3 clinical trials, 8 regimens. Research matters!

Fun fact: I love Disney World, and just bought my first annual pass despite living in MA.

In-person HOPE Summits: Six.

Why are you returning? I continue with lung cancer advocacy to honor Dave and try to help others affected by lung cancer. I’ve always admired LUNGevity’s commitment to research and to survivorship – including both survivors and their families. I especially want to reach out to others in my position, who witness the effects of lung cancer on their loved ones, and who have their own lived experience.

Advice for new attendees: Start finding your people. Here that will include peers and amazing physicians, nurses, and researchers. Everyone is here for each other.

What else to know: You are not alone. You will leave HOPE Summit as part of a community of peers who “understand” and who will become a trusted source of education and encouragement.

Lia R., Northern Virginia
Lia R.

2017 - Stage IIIb, ALK+

Fun fact: I was once stuck on a roller coaster at Disney.

In-person HOPE Summits: Two (2019 and 2023).

Why are you returning? I had such an amazing experience at previous summits. There is so much useful information and it’s a great place to meet other survivors going through a similar experience. I always left feeling empowered and filled with renewed hope.

Advice for new attendees: It’s a busy weekend so attend sessions you think might be relevant to you. It’s a very welcoming environment so try to connect with other survivors.

What else to know: Seeing many survivors gathered together is so inspiring.

Colette S., Bronx, NY
Colette S.

2015 - Stage Ia , EGFR exon 20

Fun fact: Fashion is my super power!

In-person HOPE Summits? Once.

Why are you returning? I enjoy being in the company of other survivors. It’s a space where we have common understanding.

Advice for new attendees: Let your hair down, put the worries of your diagnosis to the back of your brain, exhale, learn a lot, make new friends, and have fun!

What else to know: Nothing is expected of you. You may move at a pace comfortable to you.

Frank S., Omaha, NE
Frank S.

2014 - Diagnosed at age 35 years with stage IV non-small cell adenocarcinoma, ALK+

Fun facts: I play trumpet, I have three boys (16, 13, and 11), I like 2000's-era old BMWs, I cried when the Cubs won the World Series, I've worked for Union Pacific Railroad for 23 years.

In-person HOPE Summits? I've been to HOPE Summit 6 times!

Why are you returning? When I was leaving my first HOPE Summit, I told myself I'd come back every year. I built so much confidence at that first summit in terms of understanding my disease, new treatments in the pipeline, and the importance of second opinions along the way. But more than that, I met so many amazing people who were either just starting their lung cancer journey or who were miles ahead of me. They became sources of hope, sounding boards when needed, and good friends who we still seek out and visit when we can.

I'm returning again this year because, for the newly diagnosed, "real-life" long-term survivors of late-stage lung cancer are the most tangible source of hope, and it's my responsibility to be there for them.

Advice for new attendees: You'll get so much more out of the HOPE Summit if you make it your mission to connect with your tribe. That means finding folks who are on the same therapy as you, who have similar diagnosis experiences as you, etc. Those are the people who can relate with you like nobody else in your support circle of family and friends. These are the ones who "get it," and it's hard to find them in person anywhere else on the planet - so take advantage!

What else to know: I'm sure attending a lung cancer conference was never on your bucket list, but HOPE Summit is as good as they come. The team from LUNGevity truly want this to be meaningful and valuable for you, and you'll find a program that is sure to hit the mark. This is truly a survivor-focused, compassionate, and respectful organization and you won't be disappointed.

Donna T., Philadelphia
Donna T.

2015 - Stage IIa
2022 - Stage IIb EGFR

Fun fact: I started fitness training and weightlifting one year after my first diagnosis and lifted my heaviest weight at the age of 51!

In-person HOPE Summits? Two (and two virtual)

Why are you returning? It feels great to be in a room where everyone knows or has some level of knowledge and experience of life with lung cancer. I first attended in 2018 and for the first time, I felt seen and understood. Everyone was friendly and though I had come alone, I never felt alone. And that's the best part of HOPE Summit - the reminder that you are NOT alone.

Advice for new attendees: Create memories, build a community of friends/support, and have fun! Be sure to connect with other attendees from different regions of the country. Last year, I had a chance to meet a group of friends from a support group that we formed when a fierce lung cancer advocate introduced us on FB. After meeting monthly on Zoom for nearly 2 years - many of us met in person for the first time at last year's HOPE Summit. It was amazing! We even met new friends at the summit who later joined our group.

What else to know: The LUNGevity staff are so engaging and kind and are truly invested in providing relevant content, support, and a great time. Be sure to introduce yourself to someone on the staff that you've only interacted with via email, Zoom, or social media.





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