We All Have a Part to Play in the Fight Toward a Cure

Even before the President officially tasked me with heading up a new national mission to double the rate of progress toward a cure for cancer, something remarkable had already begun to happen.

Americans from all around the country, from all walks of life, had begun, simply, to tell me how this horrible disease has touched their lives.

I began to call them.

I spoke with Wendy from Bay Village, Ohio, who’s currently battling breast cancer. She wrote me on the night of the State of the Union.

While visiting Duke University, I met a young woman who had just finished nursing school. She’d been diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma, the same as my son Beau — and had been saved by an injection of a modified poliovirus into her tumor.

I called Raha, a bright young law student from Minnesota, who lost her brother, Roozie, to leukemia. We spoke for nearly 20 minutes. She told me she was committed to doing everything she could to spare others from what her brother suffered.

That has been the incredible thing. Americans around the country — people around the world whose lives this disease has touched — don’t just want to be heard. They want to help. It’s the common thread through all of these stories I’ve heard, from folks of all backgrounds, all walks of life:

What can I do?

It’s a beautiful, simple, and purely human response to a disease that literally spares no one: How can I help?

What is the thing that I can contribute to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else?

The truth is that, over the course of the next several months, the answer to that question will be different for different people.

The goals of this effort — this “Moonshot” — cannot be achieved by one person, one organization, one discipline, or even one collective approach. Solving the complexities of cancer will require the formation of new alliances to defy the bounds of innovation and accelerate the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and — ultimately — a cure. It’s going to require millions of Americans speaking up and contributing what they’re able.

We’ve now put all of the opportunities to actively contribute to the Cancer Moonshot in one place. And we’ll continue to update you with new opportunities to participate.

If you plan to launch a pioneering collaboration aimed at breaking down a barrier that is impeding progress in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, or care, I’d like to hear about it.
I want to hear how this disease has touched your life.
I want to hear your big ideas. Don’t assume someone is already thinking about it. Share it here, and my team will be in touch.

In the coming months, we will be highlighting new, specific, and measurable steps that organizations and communities across the country are taking. Whether you represent industry, government, a health system, non-profit, philanthropy, research institute, professional society, patients, or others, I want to hear from you.

The truth is that this disease spares no one. It doesn’t care about how much money you make, what your profession is, or how many loved ones surround you.

But if I had to define America in one word, it would be this: Possibilities. I know that beating this disease is possible.

It’s going to take every single one of us. Let’s go.