Hello from Austin! Despite my friends’ disbelief I have managed to remain on the homefront since a lot of travel in the month of December. But that in no way means either I or our staff here at the LAF have been taking it easy. I told you in my last update that we’d be heading to New Orleans for my last President’s Cancer Panel meeting and then we’ll be pitching in for two days with Habitat for Humanity. But today we had yet another major chance to make real change in the world of cancer, and it happened literally on our doorstep.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Surgeon General Richard Carmona were our honored guests today as we made an important announcement about the war on cancer that affects not only our community, Mayor Bloomberg’s city and this nation.
I recently had the privilege of visiting our troops overseas and I got to see the men and women serving this great nation in our armed forces and thank them for their efforts. Those soldiers all know that you don’t go war without a plan. But in the war on cancer, that’s exactly what this nation has been doing for decades.
This nation is facing an enemy that harms every single one of us but our approach to this opponent has been weak. As a nation, we have not mounted a comprehensive defense of our people. We know what works against this opponent but too often, we don’t do it. We don’t supply the resources essential to fight this war and we don’t support the survivors the way they deserve.
From everything I’ve seen and learned in the last 11 years, I know that what this nation needs now is a war plan. This is a war we can win. What we need is a strategy that will help us beat this foe.
That’s why I have asked Dr. Carmona and the Surgeons General of this nation to work together to craft a strategic plan to win the war against cancer. Dr. Carmona has gathered all the former Surgeons General to form a Collective that will make a National Call to Action on Cancer Prevention and Survivorship their first priority as a group.
I am hopeful that this plan will be embraced by our national leaders and that the federal government under the next President will move swiftly to implement it. And I am optimistic that it will provide a roadmap for our state and local governments on policies and legislation that will strengthen our resistance to cancer.
You may be wondering why the Mayor of New York City wants to visit a cancer survivor here in Austin. We’ve met frequently to discuss our shared passion – health care and cancer – and I think of him as a warrior in this fight. Of course, one of the last times he saw me I’d just finished the New York marathon and was red-faced, gasping and not as composed as I am now but who’s counting? Under his leadership, New York City has gone smoke-free and he has devoted so much of his time and resources to philanthropy, including establishing his own foundation.
I’m glad he’ll be here because as mayor of one of the largest cities in the world, he has the tremendous potential to directly affect millions of lives and I hope that the plan Dr. Carmona and the Surgeons General will develop help you and the city of New York fight cancer.
Like I said, it’s a big day here at the LAF and thanks for all you do in the fight as well – LIVESTRONG! Lance