Good morning! Well, last night was a late night. I did not get home until midnight. I had the privilege of attending a fundraising dinner to benefit neuroblastoma research in Dallas. My job during the evening was to speak about neuroblastoma and try to paint the picture of some of the problems that our children face. To be honest, although time was tight, I really enjoyed the opportunity to stand up and practice my speaking skills. I was only given about 15 minutes to speak which, with my favorite subject, was a challenge. How do you cram everything you want people to know in such a short time?
While it was important to let them know the basics about neuroblastoma, I really wanted them to know the reality of the disease. What exactly is the treatment like? What does achieving a remission really mean? In a disease without a cure, when do you really win? Can you?
As you can probably tell, it was a pretty depressing talk. But, I think I did lay a pretty good foundation to argue that these kids desperately needed a cure. I then went on to show that there was no profit incentive for pharmaceutical companies to make drugs for pediatric cancers and provided a litany of examples of promising drugs with activity in neuroblastoma that were dropped because of the lack of a billion dollar market.
I closed by sharing some of my favorite statistics which showed that the government was not the answer either. I shared the NCI's annual budget of $4.6 billion. I also showed how those dollars were divvied up. I showed how breast cancer received a $580 million chunk of the pie and how prostate cancer received a piece worth almost $300 million. Those numbers really stood out after I demonstrated that all 12 groups of pediatric cancer comprised of some 50 different classes of childhood cancer shared in a total of only $190 million. Yes, the math was not in our favor and it became clear that the answer was not the government.
That left only one solution, the people in that room. If anyone was going to create change for these kids, it was going to be the people in that room.
Was it one of my best speeches. Probably not. That was a lot to cram in 15 little minutes and, frankly, much of what I would have loved to say was left on the cutting room floor.
The goal of the evening was to raise about $30,000 to help fund a clinical trial.
After all of the counting was done, it looks like some $170,000 was raised.
Now, I am certainly not saying that it was my speech that had anything to do with the success. In fact, I am guessing that it had a lot more to do with all of the friends and family of the Malones than it had to do with anything I said. I was just extremely honored to have been a part of such an incredibly wonderful night for neuroblastoma.
It was a true example of how a few people can make a huge difference in the world of neuroblastoma. It just takes action.
Now comes the hard part of put those dollars to meaningful purpose and action.