Lemonade to End Lung Cancer

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My mom has always been the “fixer” of my family. From scraped knees to

disappointing news, my mom has had the antidote for every complaint, challenge, or setback my siblings or I faced. When I was a sophomore at Barnard and JTS, she was diagnosed with stage 2 RET positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a rare cancer caused by a spontaneous mutation. Suddenly, we were all looking at something very real and very scary that my mom could not fix for us, try as she might. And she does try—yoga, running, meditation, a no-sugar diet, non-toxic cleaning and beauty products, and organic produce all feature prominently in my mom’s fight against cancer. To complement her efforts at keeping herself healthy, my family and I decided to do our part. 

In April of 2021, we founded The Happy Lungs Project, a nonprofit, patient-driven community built to support researchers and clinicians in their work toward finding dependable treatments and a cure for RET positive NSCLC. This is truly a full-family endeavor. The first money in our bank account was in the form of small bills from a lemonade stand my younger siblings dubbed “lemonade to end lung cancer.” One grandmother writes our press releases, and the other fundraises. My brother handles the numbers, while I work on events. We are all working to help my mom and many more patients like her so that no one must feel as we did–that there was suddenly a challenge no one knew how to fix.

Sophia Fineberg (DD ’22)