It’s been a whirlwind month for the Play4TheCure program at the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). In June I saw firsthand the transformation from pink to lavender as student athletes continued to support cancer research for ALL CANCERS - with lacrosse joining the field hockey and soccer communities to Play4TheCure. Because as we are learning from the Precision Medicine Initiative and the NCI MATCH trials, potential treatments actually follow a new paradigm: based on targeted treatment of specific “actionable” molecular abnormalities in cancers independent of the organ site. This is a fundamental shift in thinking in driving better results, it is in part an outcome of genomic research and reflective of the research approach NFCR has been supporting for many years.
As the Vice President of Development for the National Foundation for Cancer Research, I watched my Play4TheCure team work with The New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association and New England Coastal Lacrosse in Connecticut to do a great job raising money for cancer research while playing the game they love - lacrosse. I heard heartbreaking stories about families affected by cancer – breast, lung, colorectal, ovarian, lymphoma, myeloma, etc. – and the common theme was that it doesn’t matter the location of the cancer. We are all in this together. It has long been the vision of Tina Reinprecht, founder of Play4TheCure, to be more than just a pink cause; rather, she always envisioned the broader impact across all sports, and supporting research for all cancers. And the science now supports this vision.
We’ve been so successful that NFCR’s Play4TheCure is raising the bar to grow into more sports programs that are looking for a focal point of community action to make a difference through a sport they love. We are reaching out to parents, coaches, students, principals, athletic directors, schools and clubs to join us in powering cancer research through teamwork, raising awareness for both cancer research and the sport of your choice. If you are interested in organizing a collaboration, please contact my Play4TheCure designated lead Katharine Farrar. Katharine was a college athlete and is passionate about helping make a difference in the fight against cancer. Plan this summer to be ready to activate your team. You can contact Katharine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-961-9109.