Patient Advocate in Chief – YSC at the White House

On February 2, 2022, YSC CEO Jennifer Merschdorf was invited to represent the young breast cancer community for President Biden’s announcement that his Cancer Moonshot project would move into a new phase. Jennifer shares below what it was like as someone diagnosed at age 36 to finally hear a US president affirm that cancer patients must be at the center of any systemic change in how cancer is managed. To read more about Cancer Moonshot and what it means for young adults affected by breast cancer, read YSC Invited to White House for Historic Cancer Moonshot Announcement.

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President Biden announces updated Cancer Moonshot project

YSC in the front row as President Biden discusses his personal connection to cancer.

The Who’s Who of health and cancer was invited to the historic event announcing a reignition of the Cancer Moonshot project. It was televised live on CNN, and every news outlet in the country covered the event. This was something special. YSC was invited because the voice of young adults affected by breast cancer matters. YSC matters. 

The President of the United States talked about what the YSC community already knows: the journey of patients and their co survivors is incredibly hard. No matter your political side, if you have loved someone who has faced cancer, you would have wanted to give the President a high five today.

As I listened to the President, I started to wonder if any President in our history ever truly understood the cancer journey the way President Biden does. His son, Beau, was diagnosed with brain cancer and died at the young age of 46 in 2015. President Biden shared his deep frustration with the cancer ‘system’, the new language he had to learn overnight, and the deep desperation he felt realizing the healthcare machine meant to save his son was completely broken. 

I sat in the White House today representing the entire YSC community. I know your voice matters, but today I heard loud and clear that the White House finally believes this enough to engage every resource at the government’s disposal to change how we all experience cancer. This filled me with a tremendous amount of hope.

YSC CEO Jennifer Merschdorf standing in front of Cancer Moonshot sign

YSC CEO Jennifer Merschdorf, diagnosed at age 36, at the White House

Today was not about politics, and that was refreshing. As I looked around the room, I saw people from all areas of the political spectrum sitting together for one common cause. Nobody wants cancer to continue to take our loved ones. Cancer doesn’t pick political sides. It is an enemy that every person on this planet must be  willing to face.

President Biden made it very clear today that he is going to use his position to take a fatal blow at cancer.  He said today that all of the levers of the US Government will be pulled to help cancer patients. And more importantly, he insisted that patient advocates will be at the center of this initiative.

Do you think President Biden ever listens to Pink’s song “I am here,” when she says, “I have already seen the bottom, so there is nothing to fear”? I feel like he gets what this statement means to the cancer community. He gets us. As a co-survivor who experienced the diagnosis, treatment and ultimate loss of his son, he is one of us.

He truly is our Patient Advocate in Chief!

Today, President Biden left us all with the clear understanding that ending cancer as we know it is now a presidential priority. I don’t know about you, but all I can think is…. It’s about time.

YSC is here to activate, support and amplify the voices of young adults affected by breast cancer.  YSC will do whatever we can to help Cancer Moonshot do what feels to all of us as impossible. 

We are all aware of cancer…no one needs more awareness. I am tired of the dying. I am tired of all the pain.  It is time for cancer to lose ground … it is our turn to start winning.

Anyone want to go to the moon with me? 

 

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