From the Cancer Moonshot to the Cancer Support Community – How Our Work Continues in Ending Cancer As We Know It

February 22, 2017
Ellen and Anabella Aspiras utilized the free and compassionate services of their local CSC Affiliate during Ellen’s treatment for metastatic breast cancer from 2007-2010. 

In his final State of the Union address, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden to lead the Cancer Moonshot, a new national effort to end cancer as we know it – and with that inspiring announcement, my life changed dramatically. Leaving my work as an Oncology Administrator at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, I joined the Cancer Moonshot as the Director for Patient Engagement, responsible for anchoring Cancer Moonshot priorities and deliverables to the oncology patient and provider experience. In this role, I brought my frontline work to bear on the development of federal actions and private sector collaborations to address the challenges of accessing quality cancer care in a fragmented and overburdened healthcare system. 

The 2016 Presidential Election ushered in a period of uncertainty around how the Cancer Moonshot would continue, particularly within government. What became very apparent to me in these uncertain times was that the Cancer Moonshot had become a national movement, an unwavering commitment of the American people that had moved far beyond the walls of the White House.  As evidenced by the incredible outpouring of public support for the Vice President’s initiative, I knew that the momentum of the Cancer Moonshot would carry on – like the indelible power of hope for those who know cancer. 

Today, the important work inspired by the Cancer Moonshot continues through the Biden Foundation and in the informed policy, program, and advocacy efforts of the Cancer Support Community (CSC). CSC demonstrated a strong presence on the Cancer Moonshot as the unyielding voice of the patient experience.  In June 2016, CEO Kim Thiboldeaux presented Frankly Speaking About Cancer Clinical Trials at the Cancer Moonshot Summit, and in January 2017, CSC sponsored a Hill Day in conjunction with the White House’s Making Healthcare Better: Community Oncology Event, where Kim served as a moderator on the panel Support Services and Cancer Survivorship.  CSC supported signature health initiatives in strong alignment with Cancer Moonshot goals, including the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act to provide $1.8 billion over the next seven years for the Cancer Moonshot’s scientific priorities. 

Moreover, CSC has a long and remarkable history of transforming the cancer experience for patients and families – I would know because for nearly four years, my mother and I utilized the free and compassionate services of our local CSC affiliate during my mother’s treatment for metastatic breast cancer. I am honored to join CSC as Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives to identify, develop, and implement programs that serve the complex needs of cancer patients in a dynamic and evolving care environment.  The opportunity to build on my work with the Cancer Moonshot and continue its momentum at an organization so thoughtfully dedicated to cancer patients and families means everything.  

When I needed them the most, CSC was there for me – it is my privilege to join their incredible team today.