by Chris Brewer
Greetings from down under: Adelaide, Australia to be specific… it’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago we were down here with our Founder, Lance Armstrong, at the Tour Down Under bike race. That visit included the ground breaking ceremony for the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer (FCIC), incorporating the LIVESTRONG Cancer Research Centre within its walls. Now that dream has been officially realized in a commissioning ceremony here for this amazing facility, and a renewed strengthening of our partnership with the Flinders organization.
The day started with a moving “smoking ceremony” where three local aboriginal tribesmen blessed the facility with fire and smoke, welcoming it to their traditional lands. Afterwards the audience listened to several politicians and key staff as they recalled the humble beginnings of the FCIC, going from a brash idea over dinner to a multi-million dollar inspiring facility that will provide services to cancer survivors as well as a platform for the latest research in the fight against this disease. What struck me most during the opening remarks was the clear understanding that despite being rivals in politics, the FCIC concept transitioned their differences as cancer simply does not pick sides.
And now with the opening of the FCIC, we’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership with this state-of-the-art institution. We’re working with Flinders on a pilot program to create an Australian version of the LIVESTRONG Guidebook, adapted to the context and needs of survivors down under. In addition, the Foundation is also working in collaboration with the Centre’s experts in cancer survivorship to better understand the needs of survivors in Australia so together they can set forth on a path to advance survivorship care across the nation.
Following the ceremony, Lance was featured in a video congratulating the FCIC on their accomplishment, noting that this was not the end of their effort, but rather it’s just the beginning of the important work that the staff here will now take on in the fight against cancer. Along with my colleague Claire Neal, we were truly honored to represent the Lance Armstrong Foundation and cannot thank the staff and many of our friends here in Adelaide enough for their hospitality as well as their tireless efforts. They are definitely living strong here in Australia, and we’re very fortunate to include the FCIC as true global partners!