Dear CURE Reader:
There is a quote that I love that says, “Deep breaths are like love notes to your body.” - Author Unknown.
I have been growing in my spiritual practice for many years. Since my breast cancer diagnosis 16 years ago, I have come to learn that our breath is the single most important thing that anchors us in this life; breath is Spirit and our very ability to breathe is life. When I was told that I had breast cancer, I remember taking in a sharp breath and then it was as if I could barely breathe. My inhales and exhales became shallow and fast—this was the energy that I carried with me throughout my treatment and post-treatment life. A cancer diagnosis is a trauma, and it is a different level of trauma when a person is diagnosed with a metastatic disease.
Tigerlily Foundation’s Clinical Trials Program is a transformational initiative to accelerate the delivery of innovative treatments to our patients, with a strategic focus on populations that are facing the highest disparities. You may wonder why I’m talking about breathing as it relates to our focus on clinical trials. It is because breath is our anchor, especially when we experience trauma; it can ground us and bring us back into the present moment, which is all we have. It is my wish that we innovate through science and research so that more patients have breath, which powers our life force.
Let me tell you about a beautiful soul, Lisa Laudico, whom I met through advocacy. When Lisa told me about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Tree in Central Park—a tree dedicated to the lives lost to breast cancer—it resonated so deeply with me. Lisa would speak about how she would visit the tree often, stop by on her way to treatment, and put her hand on the tree to connect with friends she has lost. It was more than a memorial, it also helped her feel grounded, energized, and alive; it fueled her advocacy and in turn fueled the advocacy of everyone around her.
Lisa was on a mission to build a pathway for metastatic patients who had exhausted treatment options and whose lives depended on clinical trials, she wanted to bridge the gaps so that all MBC patients whose lives depended on new treatment options would have access to the trial medication. One of the most poignant moments was during her taping of our MY LIFE is MY Legacy video series, when Lisa shared these words with us: “I feel like I’m running out of time. The treatments aren’t working and soon I may not be eligible for another trial.”
I have counted too many friends lost to metastatic cancer; we must have more treatment options and promising clinical trials, so we don’t continue to lose friends and loved ones. We must ensure that:
Every patient is offered a clinical trial as a care option.
Every person is educated about the potentially lifesaving impact of clinical trials.
Every social determinantsuch as financial toxicity, transportation, insurance, daycare, lodging, fear of losing jobs, and others that negatively impacts a patient’s healthcare journey is eradicated.
Clinical trials are embedded and supported at the community level.
Every ethnic group and race are represented equitably in clinical trials.
Patients are included in every step in the design and delivery of clinical trials.
Clinical trials are available to all as a care option.
It is Tigerlily’s mission that people have the blessing of more breaths. Click here to let your representatives know the DIVERSE Trials Act to eliminate barriers and increase access to clinical trials is important to you!
With Immense Gratitude and Much Love,
President and CEO, Tigerlily Foundation