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When President Barack Obama announced the $1 billion moonshot initiative in February, he appointed Vice President Joe Biden, whose 46-year-old son Beau died of brain cancer last year, to be the project’s steward.
“Right now, only 5 percent of cancer patients in the U.S. end up in a clinical trial,” Biden wrote in Medium in January. “The science, data, and research results are trapped in silos, preventing faster progress and greater reach to patients. It’s not just about developing game-changing treatments — it’s about delivering them to those who need them.”
Wednesday’s National Cancer Moonshot Summit, which harkens back to Richard Nixon’s 1971 “war on cancer,” is a national day of action led by Biden to crowdsource strategies for accelerating cancer-curing research from more than 350 scientists, oncologists, data and tech experts, patients, families and advocates across the country.
While the summit is a first step toward the moonshot’s expressed goal of doubling the current rate of progress toward a cure for cancer, there has been noticeably little discussion among politicians, advocacy groups and other stakeholders of what curing cancer actually means.
A spokeswoman for Biden said that the summit incorporated a discussion on survivorship, but declined to comment on the record about specific ways the moonshot would address the issue.
Critics called the initiative oversimplified, and emphasized that because cancer is many diseases, not just one, it’s unrealistic to push for a single cure. Others pushed back on the initiative’s meager budget.
“Let’s be honest,” Ezekiel Emanuel, oncologist and chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, told STAT. “There’s not that much money in the moonshot. I just don’t think it is going to have that big an impact.”
Later in January, the vice president added, “I said I believe that we need an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know,” he said. “I’m not naive, I didn’t think we could ‘end cancer.’ I’m not looking for a silver bullet. There is none.”
Survival is also more complicated than being cancer-free, a concern that’s rarely included in well-meaning, but oversimplified political initiatives and awareness months. Survivors’ stories, particularly those of childhood survivors who have had the longest tenure with cancer and its side effects, could help broaden the focus of the moonshot aims by highlighting their experiences of what life after cancer is like.
Read full article (huffingtonpost)
Seven-year-old Vinny Desautels learned about cancer for the first time because his mother, Amanda Azevedo, was helping survivors of the disease get ready for a gala. She is a hair stylist who volunteered with a local lymphoma foundation, doing the hair of former cancer patients before they arrived at an annual benefit event.
As Azevedo was leaving one year, Vinny asked, “Hey Mom, what are you doing?”
She explained to her youngest son, as best as she could, the ruthlessness of cancer. Fighting the disease often meant losing your hair, Azevedo said, and this was a tough outcome, particularly for young women. She was just doing something small to help.
Hearing this, Vinny wanted to help, too. “Can I grow my hair out?” he asked.
For the next two years, the Roseville, Calif., kid with a toothy grin sported long brown locks that invited teasing on the playground. “He was mistaken for a girl many times,” his father, Jason Desautels, chuckled in a phone interview with The Washington Post late Monday. “He always took it like a champion.”
Read full story here.
The Poseys plan to help raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research and will appear together at a Wednesday news conference at AT&T Park to announce the focus of their philanthropic efforts.
“Kristen and I have been blessed with two healthy kids and the opportunity to contribute to the community in a meaningful way,” Posey said in a statement.
The Poseys plan to focus on awareness, fundraising and patient/family support, and will work with the Giants to organize activities and host events at the ballpark.
“We were shocked to learn that only about 4 percent of cancer funds raised throughout the country are dedicated to pediatric cancer research,” Posey said, “and we felt compelled to lend our voices to this important cause.
“Our hope is that by working with the doctors, patients and their families, we can raise significant awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment.”
The Poseys will partner with ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale, an advocate in the fight against pediatric cancer, for a Sept. 14 fundraiser at the ballpark that will benefit the V Foundation and Bay Area pediatric cancer programs.
The Poseys will host another event Sept. 17, the Giants’ Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day.
On Wednesday, New Era will unveil the Buster Posey Pediatric Cancer Awareness 9FORTY cap, the proceeds of which go to support research and treatment. The cap features the gold ribbon for Pediatric Cancer Awareness and the Giants’ logo.
Once a month, the Poseys will host patients receiving treatment at Bay Area hospitals and their families, who’ll be invited to a game as well as a pregame visit with the Poseys.
Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker will donate $250 million to launch a new institute aimed at developing more effective cancer treatments by fostering collaboration among leading researchers in the field.
“Any breakthrough made at one center is immediately available to another center without any kind of IP (intellectual property) entanglements or bureaucracy,” Parker, the co-founder of music-sharing website Napster and the first president of Facebook, told Reuters in an interview.
The new Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will focus on the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
A high school in Loudoun County, Virginia, plans to throw a prom with a message this year.
While the students at Freedom High School in South Riding still plan for a fun party, they are scaling back in exchange for giving back.
“We were just bouncing themes around and we had the idea of a charity ball, and it took off from there,” Junior Class President Bobby Doherty said.
The money saved and generated from ticket sales will go to pediatric cancer research.
College basketball coaches across the country will be switching up their shoelaces this week to honor one of Michigan State’s biggest fans.
Special gold shoelaces will be worn by coaches this week to honor Lacey Holsworth, the St. John’s native who formed a relationship with Adreian Payne and the Michigan State basketball team before passing away due to cancer in 2014.
The promotion is part of the Suits and Sneakers Week, in which coaches wear sneakers instead of dress shoes to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society. Funds raised will also benefit Princess Lacey’s Legacy, a nonprofit foundation founded in her honor.
Wisconsin, South Carolina, Akron, La Salle, Dayton and Appalachian State have all announced that they will wear the laces during games this week.
Gold laces are also available to the general public through Shoe Carnival.
President Obama announced Tuesday in his final State of the Union that Vice President Joe Biden would spearhead an initiative to cure cancer.
“Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer,” Obama said, before noting that Biden has worked with Congress to add resources for the National Institutes of Health. “Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”
This comment got enormous applause, as the President turned to Biden and went off script, saying, “What do you say, Joe?” Biden gave him a thumbs up, to more applause. “Let’s make it happen,” President Obama said.
Vice President Biden lost his son, Beau Biden, 46, to brain cancer in 2015.
With the generous support of people in her community and beyond, an Alaska mom is bringing a touch of magic to the lives of young cancer patients through beautiful and whimsical “princess” wigs, all made painstakingly by hand.
The story of these wigs began last year when Holly Christensen got news that her friend’s 3-year-old daughter, Lily, had been diagnosed with cancer. A former oncology nurse, Christensen says she was deeply grieved for the child.
“I knew having been a cancer nurse what she was about to go through,” the 31-year-old mom of three told KTVA.com.
There was, she knew, much suffering ahead for Lily, who was going to undergo chemotherapy. “She’s such a girly girl and loves princesses and [was] about to lose her long beautiful hair,” Christensen, who lives in Palmer, Alaska, told ABC News.
That’s when Christensen says she got the idea to create a special handmade wig for Lily: A Rapunzel-inspired braided style made out of very soft yellow yarn.
Chemotherapy can leave a child’s skin “very tender and sensitive,” making wearing traditional wigs uncomfortable, Christensen explained. The wig she created for Lily was made on an extra-soft crocheted beanie.
“I knew she would be going through a difficult time, and that no one would be able to take her suffering away,” Christensen told Babble. “I also knew that losing her long, curly blonde hair at not even 3 years old would be difficult for her, so I figured that the yarn wig could help bring a little magic and fun to a difficult time in her life.”
Lily is said to have immediately fallen in love with the wig. She would stroke the yarn, Christensen said, and would talk about a time when she would get her “real ‘Rapunzel’ hair” back. It made her “feel like the beautiful princess she is,” said the mom.