Taking the shot
A new year. Lived. Survived.
As I begin a new chapter, fresh perspective. And yet, the same set of fears.
I chose to take a “chemo break” for the holidays. To enjoy, to revel and to wake each day with a few less side effects.
The opportunity to start the New Year feeling great with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
And somehow, it feels different. It’s the tail end of one round with full knowledge that I’ll have to start another one.
In perpetuity. The never ending cycle. This time, there is a calm to all of it. The cancer vortex no longer feels untenable. It feels familiar. Knowing there are options, that we’re not at the halfway mark. The hope that comes with the incredible advances being made in detection, treatment, quality of life. The shot. Yes, that shot.
The “cancer moonshot”. A cure for cancer. The recent announcement from Vice President Joe Biden. The press that followed. The pros and cons. This is the best two sentences to describe the initiative.
the goal of this initiative — this “Moonshot” — is to seize this moment. To accelerate our efforts to progress towards a cure, and to unleash new discoveries and breakthroughs for other deadly diseases.
The perspective from someone living with cancer.
The sentence “the science is ready.” It’s been ready for years. This is not news. The challenge is the incredible silos and barriers across the entire healthcare system. And the problem is systemic.
“It’s not just about developing game-changing treatments — it’s about delivering them to those who need them.”
It’s about creating a new model for care delivery. Removing the burden placed on patients (only 5% of cancer patients in the U.S. end up in clinical trials). Delivering research and advances into the hands of the medical professionals. Creating a shared dialogue between patients, families and caregivers. Returning the power of choice; to patients, physicians and everyone involved in delivering care.
“The Federal government will do everything it possibly can — through funding, targeted incentives, and increased private-sector coordination — to support research and enable progress.”
Personally, I’m not sure if the Federal government stepping in, or pushing will make a FAST and NEEDED difference. I do believe, in order for us to make real progress in finding a cure, it takes a movement. A mission. A shared conviction. The most successful missions begin with the idea that one person can make a difference. The difference borne out of personal and profound loss. I applaud Vice President Joe Biden for having the courage to take the shot.
“The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu