Jul 27, 2015
By Hilary Adams, Staff Writer
When you hear that the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO (CCF) awarded over $6.7 million to more than 200 deserving researchers at this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting alone, it is easy to think these grants and awards are funded only through corporate and nonprofit supporters and high-net-worth philanthropic individuals. But all of the Foundation’s individual donors—including trainee and early-career oncologists—play an important role in making critical funding available to support innovative cancer research and improved patient care.
Donations to CCF come in many shapes and sizes, each one essential to the funding of the Foundation’s grants and awards to young investigators, established researchers, and educators. While large organizations and corporations do tend to make larger contributions, the list of individual donors is quite humbling to see: Thousands of individuals have donated to the Foundation in the past year alone. More than 2,000 of those individuals gave $1,000 or less, and they have all contributed to the Foundation’s ability to fund cancer research in 63 countries.
While oncologists who are well established in their careers may find it more financially feasible to donate large amounts to philanthropic organizations like CCF, it is also crucial that trainee and early-career oncologists contribute too, no matter the amount. Think of it in terms of paying it forward to your colleagues and, most importantly, your patients. Every dollar you contribute now has the potential to move the field one step closer to finding more effective treatments, or even cures.
Michael A. Thompson, MD, PhD, serves on the CCF Development and Fundraising Committee and is himself a recipient of a 2006 Young Investigator Award from CCF, so he recognizes the value of every contribution. “As a recipient of a YIA, I am happy to give back to the organization that helped my career. I give in volunteer time and money to ASCO and CCF. I would encourage award recipients to give something—it doesn’t need to be a lot. Pay it forward,” he said.
For busy trainees and young professionals, writing a check or making an online donation is always an option. But your commitment to supporting cancer research is a reflection of your personal values, so the Conquer Cancer Foundation offers options to personalize your donation. Beginning this year, the Foundation has made it more exciting and easier than ever to donate through its peer-to-peer fundraising platform, WeConquerCancer.net.
On this site, you can set up fundraising teams and start a campaign that is meaningful to you:
- Raise money in honor of a special person whose life has been touched by cancer, such as a friend or family member
- Celebrate a special event in your life, such as a birthday or marriage
- Challenge yourself with an ambitious goal, like running a marathon, going on a cross-country bike ride, or climbing a mountain
You can use the hashtag #WeConquerCancer to promote your personal campaign on social media, including Twitter and Instagram. WeConquerCancer.net can make larger donations more feasible for early-career oncologists by crowdsourcing funds as well as contributing your own.
Your donation to the Conquer Cancer Foundation comes at an exciting time: the launch of a major comprehensive campaign to raise $150 million by 2017. The public phase of The Campaign to Conquer Cancer began at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting. This comprehensive campaign will support cancer research, quality initiatives (including ASCO’s rapid learning system, CancerLinQ™), physician and patient education, and global oncology.
“It is critical that ASCO’s future leaders contribute to The Campaign to Conquer Cancer through research, but also through providing financial support, irrespective of the amount. Even small gifts from you will send a powerful message to the larger cancer community and will inspire large donors to join the Campaign efforts,” said Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., MD, Secretary of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. Early-career oncologists “know better than anyone that we are at a pivotal time in the effort to conquer cancer. The emergence of immune-oncology and refinements in targeted therapy are transforming diseases where progress had stagnated for decades. The Campaign could not have come at a more exciting time, and you have the ability to drive it forward.”
Visit the Conquer Cancer Foundation online to learn more about how donations of every size can make a big impact on creating a world free from the fear of cancer.