The death of the iconic David Bowie has been on my mind all day; in part because of the loss of his unparalled talent, but primarily because the cause of his death hits close to home –  cancer.  His passing reminds me that cancer can hit anytime to anyone – famous or infamous, rich or poor, male or female, young or old.  I think it would be virtually impossible to find anyone these days who hasn’t been affected by cancer.  So what now…

While somewhat of a non-sequitor, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the comments made recently by Vice President, Joe Biden.  As he explained his decision to remain out of the 2016 campaign for President, he took the opportunity to address the continuing challenge of cancer:

“I believe that we need a moon shot in this country to cure cancer. It’s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development, because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine, the things that are just about to happen. And we can make them real with an absolute national commitment to end cancer, as we know it today.” – Joe Biden

When I walk into waiting rooms at Massachusetts General Hospital or Dana Farber Cancer Institute, there is often an overflow into the hallway.  There have been times I couldn’t get a blood transfusion for days because the transfusion units were booked.  I had to wait hours to be admitted to the cancer unit when I was admitted to the hospital.  Often times there was barely a space to sit in the radiation waiting room.

With cancer on our minds today, it is up to all of us to find a way to empty those waiting rooms.  The cynic in me thinks perhaps we can never “end” cancer, but I am starting to believe more and more that through research and perseverance, we can prevent and cure different types cancers.  We can transform how cancer is detected and treated.

One way you can help now is to support the research being done at the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  This year, for the second time, my close friend Nicole is running the Boston Marathon to support the innovative research being conducted at the Barr Program.  Nicole has been a champion of raising money to support cancer research and a personal champion to me – she has spent hours entertaining me while I was in the hospital, she knows when I need a laugh and she always has my back.  This year, she has the advantageous goal of raising $10,000 to support the program’s efforts.  I would be grateful if you would consider making a donation of any size, but if you donate $200, Nicole will run a mile in memory or honor of someone you know affected by cancer.  You can donate to Nicole’s run here.

Cancer has taken an icon from us today…but just as we landed on the moon, we can find ways to end cancer as we know it (I think Mr. Bowie would appreciate the analogy to space!).