With two weeks on the job, our new ceo takes to the blog to introduce himself -- and to ask for your help:
Like most parents, when my son was diagnosed with cancer I was plunged into a whirlwind of fear over the prospects for my child, compounded by a bewildering maze of medical terms and procedures.
With little understanding of the cancer community, medical terms and treatment infrastructure, the biggest fear was not knowing what I didn’t know. What were the right questions to ask? What choices did we have?
Facing the enormity of the cancer establishment, the last thing I could ever imagine was leading some of the efforts to combat this disease and supporting other parents fighting a similar battle. I was just a government affairs professional. After working in the U.S. Senate, I was a lobbyist for transportation interests. I knew nothing of health care.
But I volunteered with a local cancer organization and when they expressed an interest in building an advocacy program, I found my niche. This was how I could contribute. Along with policy and advocacy experts in my professional network, we conducted seminars and taught families how to get engaged and influence the policy process: improving research funding, making more treatments available, and providing support for survivors. That work led to more involvement with the cancer community and ultimately led me here: to the Children’s Cause.
I relate this experience only to illustrate that no matter how we found ourselves part of this “club,” and no matter what our talents or background, we each have something to contribute.
If nothing else, we have our voices. Our experiences and our stories can illustrate the battles that we’ve fought and the needs of kids who continue to suffer. Those are powerful weapons that can help move legislation, improve research, generate new treatments, and improve survivorship.
That’s the role of Children’s Cause –- to help families and kids be the agent of change for themselves and for others; to mobilize and amplify the patient voice and bring those experiences to leaders in Washington, state capitols, research labs, pharmaceutical companies, and treatment centers.
But to succeed in that role - finding cures and improving the lives of survivors - Children’s Cause needs your help. We need you to contribute your stories, your experiences and especially your voice and time. We need you to talk to legislators, community and medical leaders. And, most importantly, we need you to work with one another.
As I take the helm of this distinguished organization, that will be my charge and my honor: to give families and patients the opportunity to join together in a common goal of ending childhood cancer and improving the lives of survivors.
In the months ahead, I look forward to working with all the families who can join in our ‘cause,’ and encourage you to contact me if you ever have suggestions or concerns.
- George Dahlman