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Another Voice: Join the effort to defeat cancer in our lifetime

By Gary Mervis

In the State of the Union address, President Obama talked about a “moonshot” and the effort to try to find the answers to cancer. He stated, “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. What do you think? Let’s make it happen.” And he shared that he has tasked Vice President Joe Biden with leading this mission.

I am so pleased and so excited that our president has finally chosen someone to lead this effort, and in Biden, I have so much hope because I believe that he will take this task very seriously and dedicate the necessary time and energy, with the battle his son endured and ultimately succumbed to. I hope that we can look at 2016 as the year when we all took a giant step forward in finding the answers that all of us involved with Cancer Mission 2020 have been seeking and working toward.

It is somewhat ironic, and somewhat full circle, that Cancer Mission 2020 launched in 2009, following Obama’s first State of the Union address in which he said that cancer is a disease that touches all of us and we can defeat cancer in our lifetime. Cancer is not a Republican, Democratic, Independent, conservative, liberal or tea party issue – it is a people issue.

Cancer touches all of us. Each week, 11,000 Americans die from cancer. That’s unacceptable. What’s worse is that these people do not live in a vacuum. They’re our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends, or in my case, my child, Teddi. It is as if one of the Twin Towers is falling every single day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

It is pretty hard to understand how we, as a country, have given a blank check to protecting the homeland – to the tune of some $2 trillion to $3 trillion – but if you asked someone if they were more afraid of being attacked by a terrorist or going to the doctor and walking out with a diagnosis of cancer, I would venture to say that cancer is the bigger fear.

We all need to commit ourselves to do what we can to help Biden in his mission and to find the answers to cancer so that we can one day be a country that doesn’t have to live in fear of a cancer diagnosis.

Here at Camp Good Days, we continue to collect signatures on our Cancer Mission 2020 petition, which supports clinical trials, because clinical trials are where the answers are going to come from. If you have not visited our website,, I encourage you to do so, and to sign our petition and then share it with your family, friends, colleagues and co-workers.

Join us, and join Biden, in letting everyone know that we want finding the answers to cancer put on the front burner, so that we can all, as Americans, be rid of the fear of cancer and truly enjoy good days and special times!

Gary Mervis is chairman and founder of Camp Good Days and Special Times.