This is the time of year when I often receive cards from patients celebrating their holiday season. Most cards include photos of my patients on vacation or alongside their growing families, conquering cancer in the simplest and most perfect way—with happiness and hope. I am grateful to know the stories of these cancer survivors, and I proudly hang their cards in my office for visitors to see.
The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) also receives cards and messages all year long. Doctors, researchers, and patient advocates share with us how your generous gifts are helping conquer cancer in the most purposeful and powerful ways—through research and education. I am lucky to chair the Board of Directors for CCF, and it is my honor, as Thanksgiving nears, to pass along the gratitude our colleagues and patients around the world feel toward CCF donors.
One letter of appreciation the Foundation received this year is especially inspiring because it is a message of thanks turned to giving.
The Foundation awarded 20 International Development and Education Award (IDEA) scholarships in 2015, which allowed physicians in developing countries to attend ASCO’s Annual Meeting. One physician awarded a scholarship this year, Khaoula Mazouzi, MD, a medical oncology resident from Algeria, wrote to us after the Meeting.
“Being at the ASCO Annual Meeting as an IDEA recipient is an old dream that came true,” Dr. Mazouzi said. “My IDEA experience was more than perfect, and I never imagined that it would be as enriching for me as it was.”
Dr. Mazouzi took the groundbreaking research shared in Chicago back home to Algeria, where she still maintains the relationships she made with global leaders in oncology. Your contribution to CCF not only made Dr. Mazouzi a better doctor, but it also inspired her to become a CCF donor.
This year, Dr. Mazouzi began donating 20% of her salary to the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
“For me, a donation is like a chain that would be never broken. Yesterday someone helped you; today is your turn to help others,” Dr. Mazouzi said.
As the momentum continues with The Campaign to Conquer Cancer–CCF’s effort to raise $150 million to fund breakthrough cancer research, educate patients and caregivers, and boost the careers of young physicians and scientists, there will be more stories like Dr. Mazouzi’s. I can only hope that means there are more holiday cards hanging in all of our offices in the future.
As we enter a season of gratitude, I am so pleased we are working together to take down cancer. Your kindness has led to the best resources for doctors and patient advocates, placing the future of cancer research in the hands of brilliant young investigators. We thank you—and the next generation of patients with cancer will thank you—for supporting the Conquer Cancer Foundation. ■
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.
W. Charles Penley, MD, FASCO
Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors
Originally printed in ASCO Connection. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. connection.asco.org. All rights reserved.