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Lung cancer survivor starts support group to reach others

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 3:56 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - November is Lung Cancer Awareness month.

A recent “State of Lung Cancer” report by the American Lung Association found that Kentucky continues to have the highest lung cancer rates in the country. It’s a reality WKYT’s Amber Philpott knows all too well after her father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015.

While there are a lot of cancer support groups, lung cancer is often left out, but one Nicholasville man has set out to change that. He has turned his lung cancer diagnosis into action, becoming a link to hope for others.

The changing of the seasons, fall popping with bright rich colors— it’s something 52-year-old Scott Kindred doesn’t take for granted.

Kindred has watched the seasons change, and like many diagnosed with cancer, he has been there for the many stages that come with it.

“There are stages of grief, stages of cancer, stages of everything,” Kindred said.

Having been a longtime patient care technician at UK HealthCare, Kindred knew how to listen to his body.

“I had felt just a strange pressure in my upper shoulder, and I know that might sound weird for some, but as thin as I am I just felt something wasn’t right,” said Kindred.

Doctors found a mass in Kindred’s upper right lung. In 2014 he had surgery to remove it.

In 2016 his cancer returned, this time stage 4, but it wouldn’t beat him.

“I still had things I wanted to see and things I wanted to do,” said Kindred.

Doctors said without treatment he had only months to live, so he started radiation and eventually immunotherapy.

Through it all, he relied on the strength of family, friends and his co-workers, but he often thought about others diagnosed with lung cancer.

“While I was working, I had Googled and did a lot of research back in 2016 of lung cancer support groups in Kentucky and whatnot and almost was offended to find nothing,” said Kindred.

So he started Stages, a support group. A pier at his favorite beach helped inspire the name.

Just like pillars help hold up a pier, he says Stages is a support group meant to keep others diagnosed with lung cancer strong.

Stages meets virtually and is supported by the staff at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. The group meets every third Tuesday of the month from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

“With everything that is virtual nowadays I feel like we are able to reach an audience we weren’t able to reach before,” said Kindred.

A lung cancer diagnosis was once seen as a death sentence, but now with more treatment, early detection and support, people like Scott Kindred are living longer, enjoying more seasons and offering hope to those in the fight.

“It all comes down to just getting the support and advocacy and positive attitudes that someone would need at that time,” said Kindred.

Kindred is currently in remission, but he still goes regularly for scans and checkups.

You can also follow the Stages Lung Cancer Support Network on Facebook by clicking here.

For a link to the support group virtually, click here.

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