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Recovered from Stage 4 lung cancer, woman starts nonprofit to help others

Posted at 5:40 PM, Nov 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-13 19:12:46-05

Five years ago, mother of three Leah Bochnicek was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“There was no reason for me to have cancer,” she said.

Bochnicek is not a smoker and was never exposed to smoke; she was a healthy woman.

"About 18-months prior to my diagnosis I noticed a wheeze but only if I took a really deep breath. It wasn't causing me any pain, or any issues, but I would go huh that doesn't sound right."

She had a rare form of lung cancer that required no chemotherapy or radiation.

If you want to go

Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” from 7-8 tonight at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“The oncologist came in and told me it was Stage 4 — which is devastation mode, right?” she said Tuesday. “I sat across from him, smile and nodded. Waved at him as he left the room because I was not going to die.”

A little pill she took twice a day made the tumor on the outside of her lung disappear, she said. It was supposed to keep her cancer at bay, keep it from spreading, keep it from growing.

But how long it could do that varied per person — maybe eight months. But for four years now, doctors say she has no evidence of disease.

She's dedicated her life to giving back: Bochnicek started the nonprofit Lungs 4 Life raising thousands of dollars for lung cancer research.