My thoughts run, as they do from time to time, about the big picture of the Big C – Cancer.
This week I dropped my daughter off to her 4th year at Camp Goodtimes on Vashon Island, a camp for children who are healthy survivors of cancer and current patients and their siblings. This is the last year the camp will be sponsored by American Cancer Society (funding priorities change), and its future might be uncertain, but for over 25 years some very beautiful nurses and enthusiastic staff have kept this camp going where the word CANCER is replaced by the word FUN for 6 days.
I do not like to dwell on the sadness of all this disease takes from people, but rather the big picture of how it intersects all our lives and how I can be part of turning a tide toward breakthrough in some small way. (See http://www.ultimatehike.org/pacific/ewater66). If you would like to see why I choose to direct my energies to CureSearch rather than other organizations I have volunteered for in the past, please see this document reviewing spending for PEDIATRIC cancers So Where Does The Money Go. I am hoping to enlist some middle schoolers to help me do a car wash and any other fundraiser we can brainstorm before December.
There are some beautiful things that have caught my attention in the Cancer world, so I will post them here.
There is a historical perspective on the horizon by the master historian, Ken Burns, collaborating with Pulitzer Prize winning author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee: Emperor of All Maladies
Then, a little animation similar to a cartoon drawn by my dad for his grandchild during her treatment from age 4-6, and below it the real T-cells from the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research associated with Seattle Children’s Hospital:
And finally, the best news of all, a first case of “no evidence of cancer” in a first Washington leukemia patient treated with the experimental T-cells from Dr. Mike Jensen’s lab:
“We are all jumping for joy for our patient! This is an important step forward towards accomplishing what we have all set out to do, together as a community, to send childhood cancers to the medical history books. We have a lot of work to do. There are still many more questions than answers and big challenges to overcome. For today, though, we are marking an important milestone for children who have or will someday face leukemia.”
~ Dr. Michael Jensen, Director Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research