Dear Mr. Vice President,
First let me offer my condolences on the loss of your dear son. I am very sorry.
Cancer is an awful beast. I know, too, having been diagnosed with a “rare” form of incurable and terminal cancer; Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It is said to be rare, but everyday I seriously wonder about that as I learn of more women who have it, where IBC didn’t reveal itself on a mammogram, or who are mis-diagnosed for an infection, all who suffer with it and those who die, many of whom are young with small children. I am fortunate in that my Stage 4 IBC is, at this point, mostly held stable with amazing chemo and drugs which I will continue to receive for life, as long as they continue to work holding the beast at bay, but the cancer will never go away and it will never be cured, at least at of now. I suffer and I will succumb to it. I have survived a year past the median prognosis and prefer to consider that means I will just keep going. I know someday I will not though. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind of when that will be, I do know how and it isn’t good at all.
We need more research for more effective medications and immuno-therapy and other bold moves targeting the beast, so cancer can be cured and so we can continue to live. I understand that 40,000 people die each year of metastatic breast cancer alone.
I applaud you and the Administration for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. I believe it can be achieved. This is NOT a “pink” story and it is way beyond awareness, the time is now for research and action, funding and bold moves recognizing innovative, promising ideas and clinical trials in order to implement the extraordinary Initiative we all will benefit from.
Success can occur! The time is now! Not tomorrow, as some of us will not have a tomorrow…the time is NOW!
P.S. The picture is of my new husband and me; my high school/college sweetheart who found me after many years and we were married last year. I wasn’t looking for it and didn’t expect it. Now instead of waiting to die with my stage 4 IBC diagnosis, I am living and want to for a very long time.