Adding our voices
On June 30, 2016, more than 250 Cancer Moonshot Summits took place across the United States, including Boston. Tufts Medical Center, New England Cancer Specialists and Lowell General Hospital co-hosted the New England summit. The moonshot, announced during President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address is a new $1 billion initiative to eliminate cancer as we know it.
The goal of the moonshot is to bring about a decade’s worth of research advances in five years, making more therapies available to more patients, while also improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. To achieve this goal teamwork is necessary; summits brought together researchers, doctors, philanthropies, individuals with a history of cancer and their advocates, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
Attendees at the New England summit included Dr. Andrew Evens, the Director of Tufts Medical Center Cancer Center and two of the AYA Program’s most ardent supporters, Gene & Lorraine Sacco, co-founders of the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Alliance. Named in honor of their son Reid, who passed away in April 2005 at the age of 20, the alliance works to alter the course of Young Adult Cancers by being the force behind the winds of progress. Funds raised by the alliance’s annual Reid’s Ride, a 28-mile bike ride along Boston’s North Shore, have been instrumental in establishing our AYA Program, which also honor’s Reid.
Prior to the nationwide summits, the National Cancer Institute had issued a call for ideas to be considered in the Moonshot initiative. Submitted by ‘ayaprogramattuftsmc’, on behalf the AYAs who seek their care with the Reid R. Sacco Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program, our AYA Program team and our supporters, we suggested a Dedicated oncology research focus on AYAs (aged 15-39); to increase funding and focus on the AYA cohort: from prevention and awareness that young adults are not immune to cancer, to further development of a focused age-appropriate care model for those in treatment, to dedicated AYA survivorship clinics.
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