What happened to one woman seven years ago continues to serve as a message of hope and encouragement to thousands suffering from, and affected by, thyroid cancer.
On December 15, 2004, Middleboro, Massachusetts native Lorna Brunelle was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 33. Since her surgery in 2005, she has devoted a lot of her time to advocating for awareness around the fastest growing cancer in the United States.
“I was determined when I found out that I had thyroid cancer to not let it define me,” said Brunelle. “I knew I wanted to make something positive come out of it. I used my voice as a singer and performer, but I made a promise to myself that if my voice was spared I would use it in every way I could to raise awareness. My voice was spared, I was back singing within a month after surgery, and I started working with various local and international organizations to raise awareness.”
Brunelle has continued the cancer crusade and it has not gone unnoticed.
Since 2008, Massachusetts General Hospital has honored 100 people and groups from across the United States who are making their mark in the fight against cancer. The one hundred event has raised nearly $3 million dollars to support the Cancer Center’s innovative research, comprehensive support care programs, and community outreach initiatives. This year Academy Award winner Matt Damon will be returning to the event as a special guest.
According to Brunelle, there were 900 applicants submitted to this year’s event, and she was one of the 100 chosen to be honored on Thursday, June 7 at the Westin Boston Waterfront starting at 7 p.m.
“I didn’t know anything about it until they contacted me,” shared Brunelle. “People from the community nominated me. It’s so great to know that seven years ago what I went through still matters. I made a life-long commitment and I stuck to it. I’m honored.”
Brunelle has continued to tap into her creative arts side as a way to learn from that season in her life. She recently released a book, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, called Dirty Bombshell: From Thyroid Cancer Back to Fabulous.
“When something happens in my life I want to put that awful energy into a positive place,” shared Brunelle. “My message to those going through cancer is take a break and reflect on what matters and just work through it. Even though I’ve been communicating throughout my career, I journaled a lot of my emotions during that time. Journaling was my exercise.”
To learn more about Brunelle, her singing career, accolades, and her advocacy work with The Chernobyl Children Project USA, the Dana Farber arts enrichment program, the Miss America Organization and much more visit her website www.dirtybombshell.net.
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