Philip Clarke, a seemingly healthy and vibrant individual, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer on November 12, 2012; 14 months later, on February 7, 2014, at the age of 48, Philip lost his battle. The diagnosis was a shock to Philip, and to his family, friends and colleagues, but the shock soon turned to a devastating reality as we began to learn and understand the prognosis.
Once diagnosed, Philip was determined to learn all he could about lung cancer. The statistics are devastating – lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined, yet it only receives 7% of government research funding and less than 1% percent of private donations. He set out to change that!
He focused his time and energy supporting Lung Cancer Canada which works tirelessly on behalf of the one in 12 Canadians who will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime. I recall his incredible frustration when he discovered that survival rates for lung cancer patients have not significantly improved over the past 20 years, no screening program exists and new drug approvals to treat lung cancer patients trail far behind.
Philip was fiercely committed to raising funds and awareness for lung cancer. It was from his unwavering commitment, and the strong desire of everyone who loved Philip and felt helpless in their efforts to support him in his steadfast resolve to beat this disease, that the inaugural Evening of Hope fundraiser was held in Ottawa on November 21, 2013.
A few weeks before he died, Philip made us promise to continue fundraising efforts. He said he did not want anyone else to endure what he and his family had endured during his 14-month battle. This promise will not be broken and we continue in earnest to raise funds and awareness.