In February 2018, Deb McCartney was living in Durango, Colorado, working as an administrator in a hospital, when her back started to hurt. Then she developed a cough.

McCartney thought she had pneumonia.

She flew to Orange County – she was raised in Costa Mesa – for testing on her lungs. Hoag Hospital was the place she trusted.

The news she received on March 29, 2018, was as bad as it could possibly be.

She had lung cancer, and it was inoperable. By the time doctors confirmed it was there, the cancer had spread to her breasts, bones, lymph nodes and brain.