The Daffodils and Diamonds Luncheon was founded by Bethesda’s Alice-Anne Birch in honor of her mother and sister, both of whom succumbed to the disease. Alice-Anne was co-chair this year with Anne Muir, also of Bethesda. The luncheon is held to raise funds for NFCR, specifically for breast and ovarian cancers. The Daffodils and Diamonds Committee is a group of strong and accomplished women who have resolved to move forward together in the fight against cancer. Thanks to their hard work and generosity, hundreds of thousands of life-saving research dollars have been generated for NCFR’s advanced cancer research. Last year the event raised over $100,000 for seed money for research.
This year was particularly special for me and for all involved. This year marked the 35th anniversary of the luncheon – wow 35 years! It also announced the establishment of the Daffodils & Diamonds Accelerator Fund. The goal of this designated fund is to allocate funding to promising cancer research projects that the Daffodils & Diamonds committee will select for investment through NFCR. It is exciting because it allows these amazing women to have the power to put seed money into the laboratory of their choice, with the hope that this will accelerate the development of that technology. This is a unique and targeted funding model, and one that is perfectly suited for NFCR. For over 40 years NFCR has been providing consistent, continuing, sustainable, reliable funding for research. Check out some of the researchers that NFCR has been funding for many years.
This year was also bittersweet as my friend, dear Anne Muir delivered A Message of Hope, paying tribute to her son Stephen, who succumbed to stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in September at age 45. Stephen had been elected to the NFCR board just a week before he was diagnosed. Anne’s message of hope was that, while her son’s cancer was found too late, there is promise of new discoveries in lung cancer treatment and diagnosis, and with the help of the 300+ women of Daffodils & Diamonds, the monies raised over the past 35 years have made and will continue to make a difference as we all seek to find a cure for cancer.
I was also humbled to be recognized at the luncheon as they paid tribute to me and Beverly Goering in the “Salute to Survivors”. What an honor to stand up in front of these dedicated women who work so hard on this event and are so committed to cancer research. My wife and I were blown away by the heartfelt response from the women at our table, which also included 3 other survivors. Special thanks also to Alison Starling, News Anchor, WJLA-TV, ABC7 in Washington, for hosting the luncheon for the 11th time, and for telling my story.
So once again, I am inspired by the commitment of people like the women of Daffodils & Diamonds, who show that we are truly “all in this together”. We all can make a difference in supporting the basic scientific research (seed funding) that has led to the discoveries of today, and the will lead to the discoveries of tomorrow. I am just one part of this ecosystem, and will continue serving as the #CancerResearchEvangelist bringing people together to support scientists in the laboratory.