Upstage Lung Cancer

Using performing arts to raise awareness and funding for lung cancer research

Stephen’s Story

At the age of 29, Stephen Huff was diagnosed with (inoperable) stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer.

Before his diagnosis, Stephen lived an incredibly healthy and clean lifestyle. As a former professional baseball player, he spent his entire life taking care of his body. He exercised, ate healthily, and never smoked.

Stephen had little-to-no symptoms that anything in his body was going wrong. A lingering cough led him to an urgent care center where he was told he had bronchitis. However, when a hard lump in his neck popped up, he demanded some answers and requested a CT scan. The results changed the course of his life in just one afternoon, and he was referred to an oncologist the next day.

Engaged at the time of diagnosis and just months away from their wedding, Stephen and his fiance (now wife) Emily felt hopeless and defeated. They apprehended that the 5-year survival rate for stage IV NSCLC was less than 5%. . .

Through their amazing support system of family and friends, they became empowered to learn as much as they could about the different treatment options available for Stephen and others who are facing this disease. Stephen started treatment at Vanderbilt, taking targeted therapy due to a rare genetic mutation (ALK) that caused his cancer.  Soon after they became empowered to become advocates and share their story, so they created The Huff Project. Stephen and Emily are confident that by raising the awareness of lung cancer, destroying the negative stigma that's associated with it, and investing in innovative research to continue the development of successful treatment options, they will turn their adversity into an opportunity to make a difference.