Sunday, December 13, 2009

G.O.Y.A. - The Cure Childhood Cancer

Pharmaceutical companies, while funding 50% of all adult cancer research, give almost nothing to childhood cancer. Adult cancer drugs are considered far more profitable. Our federal government (through the Nation Cancer Institute), and the major non-profits (such as American Cancer Society), give less than 3% of their funding to childhood cancer. They prefer to focus on the bigger headlines produced by the more common adults.

Congresswoman Debra Pryce realized the problem when she lost her 9 year old daughter to cancer. She created the Cure Childhood Cancer Act, giving $30 million a year to research. The bill was unanimously approved, but then killed in committee. Congress has now passed the $1.1 TRILLION spending bill... without one dime for childhood cancer.

So now what? Our government, in the mist of the health care debates, has again turned its back on childhood cancer. The American Cancer Society spends more on fund raising events than they give to childhood cancer research. The National Institute of Cancer, after a five year study, concluded that there was no economically viable method of getting private industry to fund the research.

So what is the answer?

I only have one. It is to look in the mirror and say, "If it's going to be, it's up to me."

In my office, we often use the phrase "G.O.Y.A" It's used on people who sit around and wait on things they do not control. If you really want something done, you better do it yourself. Never wait on things you do not control. Take action. Make things happen. G.O.Y.A. = Get Off Your Anatomy (Well, almost. Anatomy is close enough).

In other words, look in the mirror and say, "If it's going to be, it's up to me." G.O.Y.A.

I only care about one thing...results. I no longer care about speeches and promises from politicians and non-profit CEO's. I care about results. I no longer care about their "renewed focus" or "re-doubled efforts". I want results. I no longer ask why they promise to "renew" and "re-double" efforts that have repeatedly failed? I no longer care about politicians who make promises and then shove their heads up their anatomy. Words are words and promises are promises. Only results will save our children.

In this entire mess, there is only one thing I control. If it's going to be, it's up to me. G.O.Y.A.

But is it possible? Can one person do anything? Can one person do what our entire government has failed to do? Well, check it out...

  • In the year 2000, 4 year old cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott opened a lemonade stand to raise money to end childhood cancer. News spread of Alex's goal. Soon people were holding "Alex's Lemonade" stands around the world, and sending her the money. Alex passed away in 2004, after raising over $1 million for childhood cancer research. Today the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has funded over 50 childhood cancer projects with over $16 million.
  • On St. Patricks Day in the year 2000, three friends were challenged to shave their heads as a fund-raiser for childhood cancer. They named the event "St. Baldrick's" and hoped to raise $17,000. They actually raised $104,000. Today over 106,000 people have shaved their heads for St. Baldrick's events, raising over $64 million childhood cancer research.
  • In 1979, 10 year old Laura Graves had Leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. There were no family matches, so her parents organized a bone marrow drive in search of an unrelated donor. A match was found and transplant was successful. But Laura's parents did not stop there. They continued their efforts, building a nationwide bone marrow data bank to help others. They continued even after Laura relapsed and passed away two years later. Today the National Bone Marrow Registry has a data base of over 7 million donors, and has given new life to over 33,000 patients.
  • In 1988, Georgia Cleland was battling leukemia. Her father organized a team to run the NYC marathon to raise money for research. With 38 other runners, he raised $388,000. Today Team in Training has trained over 40,000 people for endurance races, raising over $850 million for leukemia research.
  • In 2001, 17 year old Alicia Rose DiNatale felt isolated as a teenager fighting cancer. The average age of a child with cancer is 7, and the rooms are full of Sesame Street videos and coloring books. Alicia began putting together gift boxes geared toward teenagers, and sending them to others battling cancer. Today the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation has delivered over 24,000 gift boxes, and built over 50 teen lounges with plasma TV's, juke boxes, arcade games, and 100's of DVD's.

And there are more. A.J. Piniewski's father created People Against Childhood Cancer, establishing a large data base and petition with over 40,000 names. The Ryan Salmons foundation has teamed up with the Columbus Blue Jackets to help others fighting cancer. Miles Levin inspired millions as he wrote of his battle, stating "dying doesn't scare me, it's dying without an impact. Win or lose, this is my time for impact." And the list goes on and on.

Can one person really change anything? Absolutely. In fact, I suggest that every great change begins with the actions of just one person. Someone refusing to wait on others. Someone refusing to accept the mediocrity of the status quo. Someone willing to get off their anatomy. Someone will to say, "If it's going to be, it's up to me."

A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. --Nolan Bushnell

How long will you lie there? When will you get up from your sleep? -- Proverbs 6:11

I will lay my head on my pillow at night happily exhausted, knowing that I have done everything within my power to move the mountains in my path. -- Andy Andrews

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. --Will Rogers

Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do. --Voltaire

It's wonderful what we can do if we are always doing. --George Washington

Words are not deeds. --Shakespeare, Henry VIII

The difference between successful people and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of determination. --Vince Lombardi

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a persons determination. --Tommy Lasorda

There is nothing impossible to him who will try. --Alexander the Great

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. --Escher

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. --Margaret Mead

Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals. --David Ogilvy

What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible. --Teddy Roosevelt

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you.