Lungs of Life

In early November 2013 my best friend Camilla shared that she and Joe were expecting a child, news that made me so happy I cried! Not even four months later, I yet again got news that made me cry.

We learned that Joe, at only 34 years of age and never having smoked a day in his life, has stage IV lung cancer. For several months before the diagnosis Joe had experienced pain in his chest, which turned out to be fluid in his lung. Doctors took out some fluid and tested it, finding cancer cells. A PET scan confirmed a main tumor in the lung and the spread of the disease to nearby lymph nodes.

Stage IV lung cancer is not curable, but the good news is that Joe has a cancer with a mutation called EGFR which is treatable with targeted therapy. Although, even with this targeted therapy, the cancer cells will eventually develop a resistance and continue to grow.

My hope and belief is that by the time this happens to Joe, there will be new medicines or chemotherapy that can help him live a long and happy life with Camilla and their unborn child.

One day, Camilla sent me a print of a flower she made using a linoleum block and I got an idea. I told Camilla to keep making these flowers since I knew it made her forget just for a moment how upside down the world had turned. I started drawing flowers too and compiled them into a set of lungs - Lungs of Life. My initial idea was to silkscreen them onto tote bags and fundraise money that way, but I believe is a bit more effective. However, everyone that donates a minimum of $100.00 will receive a tote bag upon request.

I know that Joe and Camilla finds this way of fundraising awkward, but I also know that there are a lot of people that want to help out in any way that they can! As many of you know, getting sick in in America is expensive. Joe has decent insurance (thanks to a persuasive wife!) and gets great care from his oncologist, but also sees an oncologist outside of his network that specializes in the exact type of lung cancer he has. The medical bills have already reached $4000 and will continue to rise.

Joe is enrolled in a research study that will track the composition of his tumor through time, to help create more effective treatments for lung cancer.

When donating to Lungs of Life you are not just helping two (soon three!) of the most positive, life-loving human beings I know of, you are also in a way donating towards a future cure for cancer.

Thank you, for doing so.

Emmet Grahn

Camilla & Joe
  • julie c 
    • $100 
    • 79 mos
  • Oscar Boberg 
    • $100 
    • 80 mos
  • HaeSook Choi 
    • $200 
    • 80 mos
  • Kelli Quinlan 
    • $100 
    • 80 mos
  • Dennis Frezzo 
    • $250 
    • 80 mos
See all


Emmet Emma Isabella 
San Francisco, CA
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