DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Frank McKenna
LCRP Consumer Reviewer

Frank McKenna Frank and Debbie McKenna

As a personal trainer for nearly 30 years and a lifelong health and fitness buff, it was quite a shock in July 2016 to discover that the annoying little cough I chalked up to a summer cold turned out to be Stage IV Lung Cancer. Maybe shock is an understatement. As a lifelong nonsmoker who knew nothing about lung cancer, mutations, EGFR-targeted therapies, biomarkers etc., I quickly became educated when, after searching lung cancer survival rates, I was hit with 4% chance to live 5 years. The first day I met my oncologist I told her, “You know I am going to beat this. Come along for the ride. We’re going to make history.” Over the past 5 years, I have educated myself about many of the terms and other information available on lung cancer.

As I became more educated and thrived, thanks to a second line targeted therapy, it was time for me to give back. While continuing operation of my personal training studio, I became a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and began offering wellness classes for cancer survivors in collaboration with my local healthcare facility.

While I have shared my story on several social media platforms, my involvement with national lung cancer organizations has been my most rewarding experience. I am a member of the Lung Cancer Foundation of America Speakers Bureau, which provides information on programs, fundraisers, podcasts, and print articles to help educate the community on all aspects of living with lung cancer. I also recently began working with the Biomarker Collaborative Group, helping to raise awareness and share information regarding biomarker-related news and events.

For the past 3 years, I have organized a successful fundraiser with the assistance of the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, where I also am an active member of their National Leadership Council. Education is so key to coping with the daily pressures of living with lung cancer, and I am honored to be given a platform to “spread the word.” Through the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, I was nominated to participate as a consumer reviewer with the Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP). After recently completing my second year serving with the LCRP Review Panel, I have been thrilled to review and provide the consumer perspective on so many fascinating proposals aimed at finding that “next key” to helping treat and possibly cure lung cancer—proposals to discover treatments like my second line treatment, which continues to help me not only live with lung cancer, but thrive.

My daily philosophy is to WIN The Day, believing that, if I can WIN one day at a time, I will continue to outlive my original survival projection. Like I told my doctor, “We’re going to make history,” so I had wristbands made that I wear and give out to friends and supporters with the simple message, “WIN The Day Make History.”

Last updated Wednesday, November 24, 2021