ASCO Raises Cancer Awareness through Figure Skating Events

May 18, 2010

January 2010 Issue: ASCO was presented with a unique opportunity to reach the public with vital information from Cancer.Net, the Society’s patient website, through two widely publicized events in November 2009: Skate America and Kaleidoscope. The events featured figure skating legends and an international music sensation that joined ASCO in educating and empowering patients and caregivers.

Figure skating is the most-watched Olympic sport and is widely viewed by women, according to U.S. Figure Skating, the sport’s national governing body. Furthermore, women are the key group making health care decisions for their families, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As such, these events will help to raise awareness about cancer prevention and early detection to the audience who most seeks accurate health information from a trusted source.

Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China compete in the Cancer.Net Skate America Competition (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Cancer.Net provides comprehensive, oncologist-approved information to help patients, caregivers, and supporters better understand their disease and make informed decisions about treating, coping with, and surviving cancer. This partnership provides U.S. Figure Skating and ASCO unique opportunities to reach the public with cancer information.

2009 Skate America
In October, ASCO announced a year-long partnership with U.S. Figure Skating, making the fight against all cancers an official cause of the organization. Cancer.Net was the title sponsor for the Skate America competition and was featured prominently in national advertising and promotions. Skate America, U.S. Figure Skating’s premier annual international event, took place November 12-15 in Lake Placid, New York, and was nationally televised on NBC.

This partnership has enabled ASCO and U.S. Figure Skating to work together with past champions and current skaters in support of their personal and public efforts in the fight against cancer. Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, and Dorothy Hamill—all former U.S. and Olympic champions and Skate America participants— have had public battles with cancer since their competitive careers ended.

“Just as skaters rely on their coaches for advice and guidance, people with cancer can rely on Cancer.Net to get the most trusted, doctor-approved information to guide them through their diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship,” ASCO CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD, said. “ASCO is pleased to partner with U.S. Figure Skating to bring this valuable information to people everywhere.”

Singer, actress, and cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John performs during Kaleidoscope with music producer David Foster at the piano (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Edge Health).

“Many life skills are learned through figure skating,” Patricia St. Peter, President of U.S. Figure Skating, said. “In fact, the first lesson taught in U.S. Figure Skating’s Basic Skills Program is how to get back up when you have fallen down. To move forward after a diagnosis of cancer, people turn to their doctors and Cancer. Net to give them the support and guidance they need.”

To further increase awareness of issues surrounding women and cancer, ASCO continued its involvement with Kaleidoscope (formerly known as Frosted Pink with a Twist), established in 2008. Cancer.Net again served as the official clinical cancer information resource for the event.

The event marked Mr. Hamilton’s and Ms. Hamill’s return to the ice as they performed to the live music of fellow cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John and 14-time Grammy Award winner David Foster. Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan also performed.

Newton-John, a 17-year breast cancer survivor, announced ASCO’s involvement in Kaleidoscope during the Women’s Cancers News Conference at the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting in May.

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