Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Day That Changed My Life - MD Anderson Moon Shots Program Brings Hope That Will Change The Lives of Many

It all began with an invitation to attend an event at MD Anderson Cancer Center. This was not an ordinary invitation, this one was different. A major announcement of the initial cancers will be addressed as part of their Moon Shots Program, a highly-concentrated effort to rapidly and dramatically decrease suffering and death from cancer. How exciting?!! Anything that promised to make a difference in the realm of cancer - I just had to be there.

And off I went to Houston, Texas. Totally excited! Get your snacks, this is going to be good.

The big day arrived, Friday, September 21st, 2012. There was a breakfast reception where the invited guests mingled and met the President of MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Ronald DePinho. The conference room was filled with a mix of medical staff, cancer patients/survivors and their families as well as the media. I found my seat and waited with a smile. You cannot imagine how happy I was, happy for the news that will affect the lives of so many.

Dr. DePinho opened up with a welcome, introduced the guests on the stage and the moment that I waited for had come - the launch of the Moon Shots Program. This program will dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical advances that reduce cancer deaths.

Here are the 8 cancers that the program will target on the initial launch:
**Acute Myeloid Leukemia/Myelodysplastic Syndrome
**Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
**Lung Cancer
**Prostate Cancer
**Triple Negative Breast and Ovarian Cancers - two cancers linked at the molecular level.

Tears of joy flowed as I thought of the families who would be able to enjoy their time with their loved ones - living longer lives. Weddings, graduations, concerts, births, baptisms, christenings, confirmations, bar and bat mitzvahs and other important events will be shared together.

As we follow the journeys of those whose lives have been touched by cancer, it gave me a thrill to be a part of such an ambitious program. Stay tuned for more on the MD Anderson Moon Shots Program and the wonderful people I met there. Coming soon the journey of a newlywed couple who are both fighting cancer.

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