For more than 20 years, Laronica Conway worked full-time in college athletics, organizing sporting events, and promoting and writing about college athletes and their accomplishments. That changed in the fall of 2008, after Laronica's mom was diagnosed with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in 2008. At the time, Laronica had been an Assistant Commissioner at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in Birmingham, Alabama, and she had just recently taken on a new job directing a multi-purpose athletic facility. After seeing the difficulties lung cancer patients have in navigating the various appointments and making major decisions, Laronica resigned from her job to move back home temporarily to Louisiana to help her mom through those long days. In her new role as caregiver, Laronica saw and experienced some heartbreaking situations which led to her making the decision to leave the world of college athletics and to create a new career path in healthcare.
Laronica currently works as a clinical trials coordinator in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). After her mom passed away in spring 2012, Laronica became an enthusiastic healthcare and lung cancer advocate, first as a volunteer at a local cancer center and then as one of five volunteer founders of Lung Cancer Social Media or more popularly known as #LCSM. The group virtually developed a bi-weekly Twitter chat using that hashtag and created an online social media presence that served to educate and support those affected by lung cancer. The founders, which consisted of a lung cancer patient, two caregivers, a thoracic surgeon and an oncologist, created a website and spearheaded annual Lung Cancer Awareness Month campaigns. And now, when looking for information online about lung cancer, one only needs to use the #LCSM hashtag to gather information and learn more about the disease and various treatments. The hashtag has become a permanent part of the lung cancer social media community.
In the last several years, Laronica has participated in numerous lung cancer awareness activities for the American Lung Cancer Association (ALA), the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the Go2 Foundation and HEAL Collaborative. She was twice-named an ALA Lung Force Hero and had the opportunity to meet with Alabama state legislators to discuss the importance of voting to increase funding for lung cancer research.
She has served as a board member on several local non-profit organizations and she’s a member of UAB’s RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) Peer Responder Team. A graduate of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA, and Grambling State University, Laronica devotes her leisure time cheering on her beloved Dallas Cowboys and reading everything she can about the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance. She spends her social media time on Twitter and Instagram at the handle @louisianagirl91 and when she has time, she blogs at Optimism and Me.