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Learn from the Experts

Meet the Expert

Loise Wairiri, MD

Dr. Wairiri grew up in Kiambu, Kenya. She earned her medical degree from the University of Nairobi, College of Health Sciences, and thereafter worked in rural health where she developed interests in breast and cervical cancer in resource limited populations. Her clinical interests include medical education, promoting health/cancer literacy in communities, and health equity in cancer care. Loise is currently a resident at the University of Washington, Department of Radiation Oncology, in Seattle, WA.

Meet the Panelists


Growing up just outside of Washington, DC area, I graduated from University of Maryland. Shortly afterwards I moved to Phoenix Arizona where met my wife and lived for over 15 years before moving to Charlotte where I currently reside.

My Cancer Advocacy begin in 2017 when my wife was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. As her husband and best advocate for her care I quickly realized that participation in Advocacy groups, attending all doctor appointments and personal research to obtaining knowledge of her Cancer type was the best way I could support her on her cancer journey.

Since my wife formed the KRAS Kickers I have dedicated my time to increasing my knowledge of targeted therapies being evaluated to manage survivors with a KRAS-mutated cancer. My passion as an Advocate working for the KRAS Kickers is to facilitate the exchange of cancer research knowledge between leading experts and survivors by breaking down the knowledge and access barriers to productive discussions.

Working for the KRAS Kickers I am responsible for running the KRAS Kickers booths at key RAS events along with providing back-end support activities.

Authored, “Bridging the Healthcare Literacy Gap for people with a KRAS oncogene” and presented the poster at the European Association of Clinical Research (EACR) Congress conference in Turin, Italy, 2023.

I am forever thankful for my beautiful wife, Terri, and my 3 children. In my free time I enjoy hiking, fishing, playing board games, yardwork, and woodworking.

Fun Fact:  I have participated in numerous Rim to Rim to Rim hikes in the Grand Canyon with my fastest time from the bottom of the canyon to the top 2 hours and 12 min.


I am a Lung Cancer survivor. I also never smoked. On January 8, 2017 I had chest pains. These weren’t new but they were different and actually I had been having intermittent chest pains but they always went away. This time seemed different, and my daughter insisted that I go to the ER.  I went to the ER and as a 66 year old
woman, they took me into triage immediately. My heart was fine. But the nurse came into the room and said they found a mass in the upper lobe of my right lung.  The CT scan confirmed this. I went home and then met with an oncologist the next day. He did not think that I had lung cancer. The pulmonologist was next on my list
and he too thought that perhaps I had an infection but scheduled a PET scan.

The PET scan showed a mass too and the diagnosis was Cancer stage 1b, infection, or fungus. I had a bronchoscopy on 2/1. I failed the test.  I had lung cancer.

I had a great team of doctors. When my diagnosis was clear, I was offered options for treatment. For me the choice was simple—surgery. Everyone might not make this choice. On 2/16 I had a lobectomy and unfortunately 8 of 13 lymph nodes showed abnormalities which moved me from Stage 1b to IIIa. My surgery was followed by chemotherapy and radiation. My last radiation session was on the morning of July 27, 2017. This was also the day that our second grandson was born!

As I didn’t lose my hair, I really didn’t have to share my diagnosis with anyone. I shared with family and a few friends. To a person, there was a “shocked” reaction. How could I have lung cancer? I never smoked. I exercise. I eat well. But, I have an EGFR biomarker. In the long run, I was lucky.

I was cancer free for three years and then, in June 2020, my scan picked up many nodules. I started Tagrisso and I now have no evidence of disease. I have also started to open up about my cancer. I became a peer mentor with three different lung cancer organizations. These relationships are important for both the mentor and the mentee. Lung cancer is almost a hidden disease and it is hard to find others with Lung Cancer. With a few other lung cancer friends we revamped a local support group. Now, it is time for more public advocacy as a way to have more people talk about lung cancer and realize that anyone can get lung cancer. It is also time to think about lung cancer as a chronic medical issue rather than a terminal disease.


Hi, my name is Marla. I was diagnosed in December 2016 with stage 4 NSCLC and adenocarcinoma; the only genetic marker was PDL1 >80%. I was diagnosed when I lost my voice, and the doctors finally decided to do a CAT scan (I was too young (52) and never smoked, so I was not eligible for a CT earlier); the tumor was under my sternum, so X-rays never caught it. They kept saying I had allergies.

I am an RN, now retired/disabled, and grandmother to 2! My doctor says I’m in remission, meaning whatever is left in my lungs hasn’t grown for three years. I have not been on any treatment for 2.5 years. I had Keytruda, then chemo, then Opdivo.

Since getting cancer, I filled my bucket list. I have been to Disneyworld many times, Paris once, a Disney cruise, a trip around eastern Canada, camped, concerts, plays, boated, and the seashore; I fly down to Florida to see the kids every few months. And now that I’m broke 🙂 I started a cottage bakery business! I have more life now than when I was working (40 hours at the hospital, every other weekend at a nursing home 24 hours and full time on my master’s degree).

My motto: maybe it’s a shorter life, but definitely a better life!


My name is Sherry. I was diagnosed with ALK+ Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer at age 48. I’m on my second targeted therapy, and I’m doing well since my diagnosis almost 5 years ago. I love to travel, enjoy time in nature, read, and paint. I try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends. I stay involved in the lung cancer community by attending conferences, support groups, and fundraising.