by Chris Brewer
What significance does 15 years hold? Today LIVESTRONG celebrates 15 years of service, of fighting the good fight and inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer.
I can tell you from personal experience that when we first started this venture, we had big, bold plans. A small but dedicated group of cycling-oriented folks, grassroots volunteers and a solid Board of Directors, we were focused on putting on events and providing funding to help eradicate urological-based cancers through research.
A few years later the group moved away from focusing on eradicating one type of cancer and coalesced behind the emerging field of “cancer survivorship” – the practical issues in and around the cancer experience – and out of that grew the movement that exists today. Our mission has been refined to two basic principles: direct service to cancer survivors and advocacy for policies and funding befitting the world’s leading cause of death.
Here are a few of our successes from the past 15 years:
- LIVESTRONG‘s Navigation Services have reached over two million people
- We opened the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in our hometown, serving over 1,100 Austinites in the first 6 months of operation
- We’ve provided more than $37 million to survivorship research and grants
- An estimated 1 million students have been educated about cancer through the LIVESTRONG at School curriculum
- LIVESTRONG at the YMCA currently exists in over 150 communities, helping survivors regain their lives through custom health and wellness programs
- LIVESTRONG led the charge for Prop 15 in Texas, establishing the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, securing $3 billion in funding over 10 years for cutting edge research
- LIVESTRONG Leaders have helped us fight cancer on a national level advocating for cancer initiatives in Washington D.C.
- We’ve established anti-stigma campaigns in South Africa and Mexico, changing the way the world views a cancer diagnosis
- We hosted the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit that brought more than 500 people from 65 countries together to learn from each other, build relationships and take the fight against cancer to a united global front
As I reflect back to our first office, the little yellow house we had on Parkway where we’d meet to plan our events, start and finish our rides, make calls and send out emails trying to get the word out about the work we were so passionate about, I can’t help but sit back and think about that famous quote by Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
The reality is that we can’t do our work without you and your amazing support. While it’s evolved over the years, we still have a big, bold mission, to serve the 28 million people around the world living with cancer, and it’s thanks to you we can make that happen.
A lot can indeed happen in 15 years. We’re changing the way the world fights cancer so that everyone can truly LIVESTRONG.