The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) has given breast cancer a deadline. The cure must come by January 1, 2020. Do the math, and we have about eight years, nine months, and 10 days to get it off our chests.
I'll admit I was skeptical. My first thoughts were somewhere along the lines of: Are they kidding? January 1, 2020 is too close. They'll never make it! But when I got all that "glass half empty" realism out of my system, I had to admit it. This is genius ... now where are the rest of the cancer folks? Yoohoo! Come on over to the pink side y'all!
The NBCC campaign is pretty simple: stop futzing around already and do something. Focus everything you have on this, and we can get it done.
It's a message the "let's cure cancer" community could use. We're a fractured lot. Even I have my heart in two places. I shave my head annually to fight childhood cancer in March, and in October I'm putting up money for breast cancer causes. I can't pick one because both pull at my heart strings.
In other corners we have the folks fighting bone cancers, bowel cancers, brain cancers. The list goes on. Sure, we have the American Cancer Society. And sure, we know now that each cancer is different. Curing one does not cure them all.
But we are all over the place these days. We want to cure different cancers. We want to address awareness. Treatment. Prevention. Oh yeah, and once again, don't forget we want a cure! What the NBCC deadline has done is strip that all away:
It’s time to move beyond awareness to action. It’s time to peel back the pink to see what’s really happening in breast cancer research, treatment, prevention, and cure.
The core programs are there now. There's awareness. There's prevention. There's treatment. It's time to let those programs run on their own (and yes, to keep funding them), and to put the focus back on the one thing that will make them all obsolete: a cure for cancer.
Because we can continue to sink money into awareness and education every year, and yes, it will help people, even save lives. But each year it requires more money. And more treatment. And more people suffer.
Or we can band together as a cancer-fighting community and say "enough is enough," we want to find a reason to not need these programs anymore. Deadlines tend to make people move. They give us something to shoot for. They make it feel possible. And when it comes to fighting cancer, the possible is what it's all about.
Do you think a finite deadline is the kick in the pants the cancer community needs?
Image via NBCC