Ten years ago today, I started working for a growing non-profit in Austin, Texas. That non-profit was focusing on cancer patients and survivors, while refining its mission, streamlining back-office operations, expanding its donor reach and envisioning and planning its trajectory into the future.
Wow! Those 10 years flew by pretty quickly! So many things have happened; so much accomplished; but yet, so much work still remains.
During my tenure, several constants have remained:
> We have kept the cancer patient and survivor at the center of everything we do, now having served more than 3.5 million people around the globe. This year we are serving 40 percent more than last year, with the demand for our services growing faster than ever.
> We remain focused on building communities of engaged survivors with our community programs that extend beyond our Austin roots. We have launched more than 75 community-based programs around the country and we continue these efforts to this day. Most notably, our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA continues to grow dramatically and is now in 520 locations that have served more than 38,000 participants.
> We continue to be a disruptive force in advocating for the patient and for system change, as we annually have the largest presence at OVAC (One Voice Against Cancer), with more than 45 LIVESTRONG advocates charging Capitol Hill. Our 125 LIVESTRONG Leaders around the globe are actively promoting cancer initiatives at local, national and international levels. And our $50 million investment to create the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes will radically improve people’s cancer experience and quality of life; revolutionize how we treat cancer; and reinvent the way cancer patients are cared for.
Ten years ago I walked into the office on my first day ready to make a difference. This morning as I walked up the steps, I paused at the fountain just outside the front entrance to reflect a bit on the past — on the often roller coaster ride we have experienced and on the road ahead. I walked in the front door refreshed and renewed with energy, knowing that there is a growing need for our services, knowing that we have a tremendous team of board members, staff, leaders, donors and constituents all over the world who are working together and also knowing that we are making a tremendous difference in the lives of others and in the way the world fights cancer.