Mesothelioma Survivor Reflects on White House Cancer Moonshot Visit
May 26, 2022
I got invited to the White House!
So, what would you do if you got invited to the White House? You would go, of course! That’s exactly what I did when I got the invitation to the Cancer Moonshot Goals Forum – not only to be a guest, but to speak on a subject I am very passionate about.
President Joe Biden helped launch the Cancer Moonshot initiative in 2016 when he was vice president in the Obama administration. It was developed to bring the country together to take a stand and decrease cancer-related deaths, as well as to bring more awareness to the impact cancer has on so many people.
As a mesothelioma survivor, I have always been passionate about sharing my story with others. I do believe that sharing my story could help someone else. Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be such a scary experience, but hearing about someone else’s cancer journey can bring hope.
The fact is, asbestos causes mesothelioma, and it’s still being used in different products in the United States. What better way to bring awareness to this issue than to go straight to the government?
Excited for the start of an all day mtg @WhiteHouse to discuss goals for the #CancerMoonshot, alongside colleagues & advocates! @AmericanCancer @ACSCAN @tamron_little @LombardiCancer @WHOSTP pic.twitter.com/fxw66hR66C— Karen Knudsen, MBA PhD (@AmerCancerCEO) May 11, 2022
Sharing My Mesothelioma Story at the White House
When I received the email invitation to attend the Cancer Moonshot Goals Forum I could have jumped out of my chair. I was so excited and couldn’t believe what I was reading. Me, invited to the White House? I pinched myself a couple of times to make sure it was real. And indeed it was!
Originally I thought I was just going to be attending and hearing from others. But I was asked to actually speak and share my story with everyone at the forum.
The big day came and I did get a little nervous. You’ve heard the saying, “shaking in my boots?” I didn’t have on boots, but my knees were knocking. It was a good nervous, though.
The room was filled with so many people representing different sectors of the cancer community. Organizations as varied as the American Cancer Society and Ralph Lauren Corporation were there, plus several physicians, all with the same goal of changing the way we see cancer. Current patients and survivors were also in attendance and the room was filled with so much hope!
I was determined to soak up every moment, every conversation and every discussion. You really don’t know how you will touch someone’s life just by sharing your story. By speaking up about my mesothelioma journey and how it was caused by asbestos exposure grabbed the attention of people who weren’t aware that this was an issue.
When I started talking my nervousness left and I felt really comfortable. The looks on the faces of the people in the audience said it all. They were stunned, shocked and in awe. It gave me the drive and confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time.
Eloquent cancer survivor @tamron_little shares an amazing story about the challenges of developing a rare cancer, taking a chance on new technologies that were life saving, and avoiding asbestos induced cancers. #CancerMoonshot pic.twitter.com/D8onFqTi1l— Karen Knudsen, MBA PhD (@AmerCancerCEO) May 11, 2022
Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Forum Was One for the Books
We may think our story is just our story. But your story could help someone else. Your story could be the start of something bigger than you can imagine. Just sharing your experiences could spark an innovative idea.
I walked away from the Cancer Moonshot Goals Forum with excitement and determination. I am determined even more to share my story and excited to join forces with others to make a positive impact within the cancer community.
Here are some key takeaways from my experience:
- Never be afraid to tell your story.
- It’s always good to have a listening ear.
- You may be the key someone else is looking for.
So, I guess now I can add Cancer Moonshot participant to my resume!