Giving Back

Anyone who knows me knows what a huge influence my Mom had on me.  Besides being an amazing role model, she fostered my love of beauty.  On our trips to the cosmetic counter, she taught me that there was no problem that a new lipstick or nail polish couldn’t solve.  I used to watch her morning ritual in awe…the bright eye shadows & liners, her blond eyelashes suddenly appearing with a stroke of mascara, heavy blush and bold lips.  In 2004, after a long two year battle, I lost her to lung cancer.  Not only did I lose my Mom, I lost my best friend, confidant, mentor and future grandmother.  And because of her, I was exposed and led to the industry that would ultimately become my career.  In honor of my Mom, a portion of every sale will be donated to lung cancer research to help accelerate the discovery of a cure.

My Mom, Karin

During my Mom’s treatment, I really didn’t know much about lung cancer.  The cancers I knew the most about were breast cancer and prostate cancer because they have wonderful organizations that have done a great job at raising awareness.  At the time, I was focused on what she was going through and had no idea the odds against her, and that was probably for the best.  It wasn’t until after she passed that I took a closer look and started doing my own research.  November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month so I thought I would take this time to pass along the information I have learned.  Lung cancer does not get a lot of publicity and as a result is often misunderstood.  The following are the facts about lung cancer as reported by the National Lung Cancer Partnership.

  • Each year, approximately 220,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the U.S.
  • Lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined; it accounts for nearly 30% of all cancer deaths
  • The 5 year survival rate for lung cancer is 16% while breast cancer is 89% and prostate cancer is almost 100%
  • Only 15% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed before they spread.  Both breast and prostate cancer patients are diagnosed much earlier, 60% and 82% respectively, before they spread.
  • $1,490 is spent on federal research funding per lung cancer death while each breast cancer death receives $21,641 and prostate cancer death receives $10,795.

A wonderful resource I have found is the National Lung Cancer Partnership.  They are the only lung cancer advocacy organization founded by doctors and researchers working together with survivors and advocates to increase lung cancer awareness and research funding.  What I respect most about the Partnership is that they follow a peer-review system for all grant applications.  That means that each grant application is evaluated by expert scientists in relevant scientific disciplines and research areas.  In other words, they don’t just give anyone money for research.   Only those research programs and scientists who are making groundbreaking advances receive money so they can take their research to the next level.

Because of the sheer volume of people diagnosed with lung cancer each year, we all know someone who has been affected by it.  Please join me in raising awareness today and every day.  Do it for the Mom’s and Dad’s out there who are the inspiration for their children’s future.  May we find a cure so that they can live to see their children’s dreams come true.

For more information about lung cancer, how donate, volunteer, or find an event to participate in, please visit The National Lung Cancer Partnership at  The Partnership has been ranked as a four-star charity by Charity Navigator.


2 responses to “Giving Back

  1. Well done Dawn Villanueva Levy! Your Mother would be very proud of what you have written in her memory. Keep spreading the word of lung cancer awareness so more lives will be saved. You are quite the activist and your hard work is leaving its mark on the world.

    Sharon R Peterson, LCSW-C

  2. I am so proud of your efforts Dawn. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Irene Peterson, Sharon’s Mom

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