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Committed to a Cure for Kidney Cancer

Lanier Swann Hodgson

By Lanier Swann Hodgson

Five years ago, in my early 30s, single and knee-deep in a career on Capitol Hill, my entire world was rocked when a doctor said the words, “You have cancer.” (He actually said, “You have renal cell carcinoma,” so I had to ask him to speak English, and then he said cancer.)

My little sister, who had accompanied me to the appointment, slid out of her chair and cried. All I remember was thinking that my own mortality was suddenly in the room with us and staring me in the face.

Fast forward a few months, down a kidney, doctors were telling me they “got it all,” and to “enjoy my life, and this would soon be a distant memory.” I was enjoying my life, but a serious cancer that has no real cure when it has spread was anything but a distant memory. A friend on the Hill introduced me to Dena and Chris Battle, a couple waging their own war against kidney cancer. From the first time we met, there were no discussions about the weather or sports or even – gasp – partisan politics. Instead, the Battles launched into overdrive educating me about what had been in my body, what still could be there, and how to be vigilant in my follow-up care. They personally made it possible for me to be seen at Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center by the best of the best: Dr. Hans Hammers.

From left: Dena, some great runners, and Lanier.

From left: Dena, some great runners, and Lanier.

My care with Dr. Hammers and my relationship with the Battles altered the course of my life. Cancer was no longer something that “happened to me.” Cancer became a cornerstone of who I was and who I am. They empowered me to be more than a woman with a battle-scarred belly; they gave me the tools to become my own advocate and encouraged me to join them in their journey to find a cure for the cancer that was robbing families of their futures.

I have since left Capitol Hill and found a man who is unfazed by my scars, my follow-up scans, and procedures to follow up on follow-up scans. We have a daughter, and I want her to grow up in a world that is free of kidney cancer. I have committed myself to a career in healthcare, and I now work at the hospital that removed my cancer and saved my life. I had the courage to do all of these things because of what Dena and Chris gave me.

Today, KCCure is offering everyone the opportunity to be as engaged in this war against kidney cancer. And it isn’t a simple fundraiser for a single event, or raising money for a fund at one research lab, or pulling together a one-time grant to name a room after a cancer warrior.

No, this one is real, and it has the capacity to forever change the landscape of renal cell carcinoma.

KCCure exists to fund the research necessary to end this cancer. Unlike some of the mainstream cancers, research for renal cell carcinoma is few and far between because it is so misunderstood and all-too-often simply ignored by research foundations.

With your help, that will no longer be the case. KCCure is different from other single-issue disease groups you see across social media. This is an organization you can choose to support and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are actually making a difference. You are not buying a colored ribbon to wear or a sticker to put on your car. You are directly funding research. You are single-handedly helping a genius mind peer into a microscope and find the link that will lead to a cure. Here is what else you are doing when you donate to KCCure:

  • You are helping find a cure.
  • You are helping a father see his daughter graduate.
  • You are helping a young athlete run just one more race.
  • You are helping a young woman live long enough to meet her husband and have the child she never even dared to dream about.
  • You are helping a grandmother live to see her grandchildren become beautiful little young adults.
  • You are helping people live.

In the last month, KCCure has made incredible strides towards funding the type of research that will save lives. Today is the last day to donate to KCCure’s first month-long fundraising campaign, No Tie July. Will you help get them across the finish line and exceed every single expectation?

Chris Battle’s birthday was this weekend. I’m confident that Heaven hosted an incredible party for him. But there are precious hearts here on earth that ached at the empty seat at their table on Saturday. Join us in our efforts at KCCure and help keep those seats at dinner tables remain full.

The Battles helped change my life. Will you help me to now honor theirs?

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  • Lisa Morton

    Beautifully written, Lanier. Iʻm so moved and proud of you!

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