Tuesday , June 15 2021

The retiring executive director of Hagerstown's non-profit breast cancer organization uses personal experience to help survivors

When she was 37 years old, Janet Lung found a lump on her breast in the shower.

After visiting a doctor and a biopsy to confirm her worst nightmare, she underwent lumpectomy and began chemotherapy for breast cancer in January 2001.

"It was a great way to start the new year. Let's start chemo," said Lung, now 55.

After four rounds of chemotherapy and six and a half weeks of radiation, Lung was in remission. During this trip she found a new passion and career, helping others navigate in similar situations.

"I think things are happening for some reason," said Lung.

During her treatment, she discovered breast cancer awareness – Cumberland Valley in Hagerstown and quickly discovered a new home and support system.

The organization provides free early detection and support after the diagnosis of breast cancer. It also provides wigs, hats and scarves for cancer patients, in addition to bras and breast implants for those who had mastectomy.

"It's amazing things we can provide, and everything we do is free and we're able to do it for free because of the amazing community support we've had," said Lung.

Lung started volunteering in the organization and served on board as a vice president until the management asked her to join the staff as a community liaison. About five years later, she became their executive director.

"I do everything I can, but I only want to help someone, and if I was able to help one person during my stay here, I did my job," said Lung.

After 15 years in the organization, Lung retires so that she can spend more time with her husband.

She said she would bitterly leave the organization, but she would volunteer and help patients move in the shortest possible time.

The organization announced on Friday that Stacy Horst, an active member of the board, takes over the position of the executive director.

Horst became acquainted with the organization when her grandmother fought with liver cancer and her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lung helped Horst and her family through this terrifying time.

"There is another layer of personal contact that Janet has, because Janet herself is saved, and she just has a very tender heart and is very compassionate," Horst said.

Lung is grateful for the opportunity to give away the program that helped her when she was diagnosed.

"I just wanted to find a way to return, and work here was possible," said Lung.

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