What is Voices of Survivors Foundation?

Monday, October 15, 2012
By, Lynn Lane
Why we were formed:

The “Voices of Survivors Foundation”, a federally registered 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, was started by Lynn Lane, a photographer/documentary filmmaker and a ‘survivor’ himself. Lynn was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2008 and underwent a Robotic Radical Prostatectomy in May of that year at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. From the moment of his diagnosis, he realized that life would never be the same. He scoured the internet in search of information and support but found very little out there except for a few amazing groups and support sites, but nothing like what he was looking for: the visual image…the power of the spoken word.

After his surgery he turned his efforts towards his project: “Voices of Survivors” as he saw a real need to put a human face and voice to this word that means so much to so many people. Utilizing his background as a documentary filmmaker, he saw this as a new challenge for his work as well as himself. The word ‘survivor’ oft times has very different meanings for each individual and sometimes can be challenging for them to see themselves as one. This project and format seemed to lend itself to a new form of support for each individual who is going through this battle as well as for their friends and family. It gives us an opportunity see ourselves as a ‘survivor’ in our terms and by our own definition of the word.

 

 

What we do:

The “Voices of Survivors Foundation” is devoted to exploring what ‘Survivorship’ means to the individual ‘Survivor’, whether they are recently diagnosed, in-treatment or post-treatment, in a variety of documentary formats. Each ‘Survivor’ helps define what this means to not only themselves, but also gives insight to others who are on this journey as well, either as a ‘Survivor’ or a ‘Co-Survivor’.

The face of cancer is one that has been portrayed as that of only older people or children for so long, but that face is not reflective of whom cancer truly affects. It affects us all! We become a ‘Survivor’ when we first hear those three words: “You have cancer.”

At that moment, your ‘Survivorship’ begins and you are not alone. Each and every ‘voice’ shared can mean so much to so many and touch even more. Stand up, be heard!

You are a ‘Survivor’!

 

 

2010 in Brief:

2010 was a great year for the Voices of Survivors Foundation. We not only put up our 100th ‘Survivor’ video but we topped out over 400 ‘Voices’ shared overall from all over the world. We expanded our outreach dramatically both on our website and in the real world. We launched new programs including the ‘Conversations’ portion of the website were we have a side by side video ‘Conversation’ with executive director: Lynn Lane. We were featured during the NOEP presentation at the National Oncology Nurses Summit as one of the top resources for oncology nurses to understand exactly what cancer patients go through during and post treatment.

In 2010, we launched local chapters across the country to give people an opportunity to get together in a healthy and positive way with other ‘Survivors’. We reached out on many road trips to various hospitals and cancer centers to provide literature on our organization and ‘Survivorship’ to help others not feel so alone. We attended various summits and seminars including the “Liver Tumor Symposium” in Fort Worth, Texas where we were speakers and collected many ‘voices’ on camera to share on our website. We became members of the Breast Health Collaborative of Texas where we work with many top nonprofit organizations in Texas to bring about more awareness for both men and women about breast cancer. One of our exciting fundraising efforts was the 2nd annual “Voices at the Velodrome” bicycle track racing series held in Katy, Texas at the Alkek Velodrome. This is only some of what we have done this year. 2011 promises to be even more amazing!

 

Lynn Lane

Founder, Executive Director

Voices of Survivors Foundation

  • Nancy

    on the recorder. My heart stood still. And she insteisd I come straight to her office. And so my journey began. My simple fluid-filled cyst had turned into a football-sized malignant tumor and I needed surgery immediately. There was another problem. Due to complications from a rare disease I have, anesthesia wasn’t an option. It could kill me, so I couldn’t be put under.We consulted with my Mayo Clinic doctor who treats me for this disease. A decision was made NOT to put me under ….it was way too risky! So I needed to face this surgery awake, with a spinal and hope for the best. Now it’s difficult to prepare yourself mentally for surgery, especially when you have to be wide awake….and wondering what the outcome will be.To say I was scared is an understatement. As I was lying on the operating table, watching the doctor’s faces, I knew I would NEVER forget the look on my surgeon’s face as she lifted the tumor out of my body. Her eyes locked with the anesthesiologist’s eyes – in a look of disbelief. I took it all in….the ticking clock on the wall, the request for specimen cup after specimen cup for more nodes….and the worried look on everyone’s face.Three and a half hours later I was wheeled into recovery. My surgeon waited with me for my husband to be brought in and told us together that I had ovarian cancer. I just kept thinking ….okay, okay, I am still here…. I can’t believe she just said those three dreaded words to me ‘you have cancer’ but I’m still here. Cancer is a very powerful word.Now fast-forward two days later, when my surgeon walked into my hospital room. That day will forever be etched into my memory …when I was told I had stage III ovarian cancer – and that my odds of survival were slim at best. It was stated so matter of fact-like. As if she was telling someone what she wanted on her pizza! My head started spinning and time stood still. I remember staring at the clock on the wall…. I remember her blue skirt, her pretty shoes…even the height on her heals …and the fearful look on my husband’s face, the sound that came from his mouth as he was gasping to breathe….the sun streaming in the window…and seeing my life flash before my eyes. I recall with clarity that is all too real what it’s like to face your mortality. And all I wanted to do was run out of that hospital room – and LIVE! Well, I certainly was in no shape to run, but I did insist on going home immediately. I wanted to get as far away from the hospital as I could! My surgeon released me reluctantly, and I never wanted to see her again.We went home and I spent that night wide awake….wondering what it would be like to die….would it hurt? How will my husband and kids manage without me? Morning came and my surgeon called on the phone. She was the last person I wanted to talk to. Thankfully, my husband talked to her and she told him that Mayo Clinic had just called her. They had received a sample of the tumor and discovered it was a very rare form of ovarian cancer and wanted to see me ASAP. So a few days later, we were off to Mayo and I was fortunate to be treated by a brilliant, caring oncologist. And I’m so elated to say that with the help of God, family, friends and Mayo Clinic, I AM ALIVE!!There’s something I’d like to say about my doctor. She was a very skilled surgeon, but she lacked what I consider one of the most important tools – and that is hope. Hope is crucial. Hope and a belief that you’re going to make it! Yes, I received excellent medical care, but equally important in my opinion is a positive attitude, which is so vital in healing and staying well. Now I never asked ‘Why me?’ but instead thought, well, okay it is me. And now what?? Well…I’m going to live, that’s what I’m going to do!What was a very frightening and difficult time, was also a beautiful time in my life. I felt so loved and supported. Every time a friend dropped by with a meal or I opened up a get-well card, I wanted to cry. The outpouring of love was overwhelming. I truly found blessings in this whole cancer experience. So in a sense, illness can be a great reminder to us of how fortunate we are.Yes, I have hope and I continue to live my life with a positive attitude. I honor each day. I treasure my loved ones …and I don’t take a single day for granted.

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