Ms. Lezin is a gifted communicator and teacher who has become a regular presenter during our orientation for medical students and medical residents. She has taught our students lessons about how to be a good physician through witty anecdotes as a cancer patient and survivor. She lectures with great clarity around her encounters with doctors who were helpful and some who were not, always sharing a message with great humor so our students understand how to be better listeners, compassionate caregivers, and thoughtful physicians. In our surveys, these patient advocacy presentations are among the highest rated.
In addition, I have worked with Ms. Lezin during our pipeline program for underserved high school students seeking careers in the health professions. In her capacity as college counsellor, she has creatively helped prepare this group for the college admissions process through interactive exercises and high energy lectures all infused with the positive spirit and encouragement she naturally possesses . Ms. Lezin is the consummate public servant, willing to share her life lessons with all, especially those who need it the most.
- Iris Cheng, MD FACP, Professor of Medicine, Carolinas HealthCare System, UNC School of Medicine Charlotte Campus
As a featured speaker at the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, Katya Lezin, author of But I Just Grew Out My Bangs! A Cancer Tale, was both inspiring and authentic. In sharing her chronicle of her battle with ovarian cancer, Katya also provided a window to the support and strength offered by her family, specifically her loving and spirited teenage daughters. Both mother and daughters were unforgettable!
- Joyce Monaco, Director, Marketing & Communications, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Inc.
I first met Katya at the NOCC annual conference in Las Vegas in March, 2014. We had the pleasure of sitting next to each other at dinner, and I got a chance to hear bits of her amazing story and learn about her book, But I Just Grew Out My Bangs! She was energetic, inspiring, and a delightful representative of the amazing qualities of so many of my patients who inspire me every day in my work as a nurse practitioner in gyn oncology. When I heard her speak 2 days later at the last day of the conference, I was blown away. I laughed so hard I cried, and then I cried some more. She somehow perfectly summed up the heartbreaking and life-altering challenges that living with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer drops into the laps of unsuspecting women and their families, but with such grace and humor and endless energy that it wrapped us all up in laughter, hope, and understanding. I just KNEW that our patients in Boston NEEDED to hear her speak — outside of the clinical lectures and survivorship conferences that we provide, hearing a real, strong, honest, inspiring woman tell her own story and her own triumphs against this difficult disease would be such a gift.
Katya came to Massachusetts General Hospital in April, 2014 and gave her most amazing talk. We had about 75 patients in attendance along with staff, and there was not a straight face in the house. I laughed even harder the second time, and more importantly, I scanned the audience to see the faces of my patients and saw something amazing. They Got It. Of course the humor provided a much needed respite for those either facing their own cancer journeys, or the journey of a loved one. But the sense of community, of understanding, of inspiration, of HOPE that Katya’s talk provided left everyone energized and so very thankful. I am still receiving cards and emails these months later thanking me (ha ha) for putting such an amazing program together. I laugh because all I did was suggest to Katya that she come to MGH, and she made the real magic happen.
We were so thrilled that we hope to have her come speak again, but we know we’ll be competing with the rest of the world so we’ll have to book early!!