Thomas G. Roberts Jr, MD
Small victories matter when you are conquering cancer.
Listen to a patient’s loved one detail the progress of treatment. You will hear the value they give to accomplishments that otherwise seem minor: She rested well last night. He managed to eat. The scan showed no new growth!
It is easy, necessary even, when taking on the scope of a disease like cancer to put the weight of your hope in every promising triumph. Patients and caregivers are not the only conquerors who adopt this faithful attitude. Forward-thinking researchers can appreciate the insights that even a debunked theory provides to their work, and those of us who raise money to ensure researchers have the opportunity to keep trying appreciate the value of every single dollar given in support of our mission.
Because small victories lead to big successes.
One patient, Brittany Sullivan, learned in 2012 that her rare sarcoma had returned for the sixth time. She had a large, inoperable tumor on her heart, and she was 3 months pregnant. That same year, Breelyn A. Wilky, MD, received a Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award (YIA) to continue researching sarcoma. Just 2 years later, Dr. Wilky’s research would lead to a clinical trial, on which Ms. Sullivan was the first patient to enroll. After a year under Dr. Wilky’s care, Ms. Sullivan’s widespread cancer had shrunk to only a few small tumors.
It has been a record-breaking year for Conquer Cancer. Gifts to The Campaign to Conquer Cancer exceeded our $150 million goal. For the first time ever, every qualifying candidate who applied for a YIA received a research grant. Because of our donors, 69 more early-career scientists like Dr. Wilky will continue in research, helping more patients like Ms. Sullivan.
As the holiday season of gratitude and giving begins, I am thankful for every gift Conquer Cancer donors have offered, and I am hopeful about the outcomes—big and small—that every dollar used to conquer cancer guarantees.
Thomas G. Roberts, Jr, MD
Chair, Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Board of Directors
Originally published in ASCO Connection. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. “A Letter of Thanks From the Conquer Cancer Foundation.” ASCO Connection, November 2017. All rights reserved.
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