In 2017 Erika Hlavacek was 42 years old, a mother of two and former airline pilot. She was in the best physical condition that she had been in years and could never have anticipated the shocking news that lay ahead. Over the summer she developed a cough which was treated as allergies and some mild back pain that she assumed was from exercise. Surprisingly the cough didn’t resolve with treatment and the back pain increased rapidly to the point that she ended up in the ER. She was admitted to the hospital and on September 29, after a 10-day stay, received her diagnosis: Stage IV Lung Cancer.
She was found to have a form of lung cancer that responded to cutting-edge chemotherapy medications. These had only been approved a few months before her diagnosis. This chemo was so effective that the tumors shrank and, although she still had side effects, she was able to resume a relatively normal life. You would never guess that she had advanced stage cancer.
Erika was trying her best to live her life, when eighteen months after her diagnosis she received another shock; her husband, Jeff, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. This required him to have surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and added caregiver to Erikaʼs title of survivor.
While Jeff was undergoing chemotherapy, Erika had progression to her brain, meaning that the cancer had spread, and she began the next targeted treatment. This treatment was also very new, having just been approved a few months before. The new chemo was effective and continued to keep her cancer stable for the next year and a half.
When that regimen began to fail, as she predicted, there was not another targeted therapy available. Erika was treated with more traditional chemo for the next ten months as she hoped for the next breakthrough. Unfortunately, it didn’t come in time and on April 27, 2022, the cancer had progressed too far and she passed away surrounded by her family and friends.
In the time after her diagnosis, Erika became an advocate for lung cancer research. essay on environment in hindi language source enter go oxford university creative writing essays on recycling paper https://dianegottlieb.com/education/essay-hamlet-play/93/ https://themauimiracle.org/bonus/taking-viagra-on-wedding-night/64/ go here my pet essay dog follow adronil 150 mg viagra https://homemods.org/usc/law-essay-help/46/ are female viagra pranks fake that works like viagra dred scott essay topics sail management trainee question paper pdf the art insitute of illinois essay source site five paragraph essay handouts https://www.psm.edu/package/scam-viagra-sites/89/ https://sfiec.edu/pdf/?docx=essays-on-numbers-and-figures follow http://hyperbaricnurses.org/3213-making-of-viagra/ viagra office in toronto canada how to write a research paper quickly and efficiently art criticism essay for mobile structure best argumentative essay editing website for university case study sample research questions essay about islam here https://zsjnm.huc.edu/analytical/gun-control-thesis-statement/2/ Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of both men and women but receives significantly less funding than other cancers. This lack of funding makes raising money for research an actual life or death undertaking. It falls upon patient advocates to raise these funds.
Erika quickly realized that she needed to be living her best life everyday. During a girls’ weekend she was surprised with matching shirts that said “Best Life” on them. This inspired her to design a “Live Your Best Life” themed shirt for an upcoming event. The design was so well-received that she decided to sell them as a fundraiser for lung cancer research.
The success of this fundraiser helped Erika see the potential giving opportunities available selling merchandise and holding events using the “Best Life” mantra. This is what inspired her to start yEAHbestlife as a brand and non-profit dedicated to fundraising for lung cancer research. She expanded her offerings of merchandise focusing on her theme and made yEAHbestlife.org the home of all of her fundraising efforts.
As Erika herself said:
We never know what the future holds. We just have TODAY. So don’t wait for something bad to happen. Live your LIFE! Live it the BEST way that you can!
Say YES more often.
Go outside of your comfort zone. Take the trip, learn the dance. Eat the donut.
It took cancer for me to wake up. Learn from me and start really LIVING. WHY NOT? My dream is to see everyone – friends, family, strangers – living their BEST LIFE in my shirt.”– Erika Hlavacek
yEAHbestlife is the culmination of Erika’s dream – to give lung cancer a voice and create an entity to support life saving research and start a legacy of giving and advocacy. The yEAHbestlife team is committed to honoring that legacy by following Erika’s example of advocacy and giving.