Hi everyone! My name is Gabrielle Cromley and you may have read my past two blog posts about Finding a Cure for Cancer if not, take a look! (Blog #1 & Blog #2) This is my final blog post for my You and the World project and it includes my Agent of Change portion. The Agent of Change part is how I tried to make a difference for my cause which is finding a cure for cancer.
There was recently an article on Liberty Voice titled “Cancer Cure on the Horizon?” that described a possible new treatment called CART treatment (chimeric antigen receptor T-cells) that has been extremely successful in patients who were not responding to chemotherapy like Emma Whitehead and Doug Olson who said, “As far as I’m concerned, I’m cured. I don’t ever think about relapse. I don’t. It’s like all of a sudden you can breathe.” The treatment involves stripping white blood cells from the blood then using a modified version of the HIV virus to reset the white blood cells in order to make the white blood cells attack the cancer when they return to the bloodstream. CART treatment basically “genetically re-engineers a person’s immune system”. One of the major downfalls to this treatment is that it makes the patient’s immune system even more vulnerable for a while and they could possibly die in that span of time. It has a while to go, but the treatment is currently undergoing tests and development in order to make it safer and possibly compatible for more types of cancer.
Although the treatment has had a large success rate in its patients, I think that there is still a lot more that has to be done to improve the treatment so it is less harmful. Before it can be used on the market, it has to be a less risky procedure so that it can be as effective as possible. The treatment has also been successful in mostly forms of leukemia. It should also be tested and altered if needed so that it can be utilized for other forms of cancer. I also believe that the researchers working on CART should attempt to use a different virus than HIV just in case something goes wrong with the virus. Though CART treatment needs to be advanced more, this could possibly be another treatment option for cancer patients that could be more successful for them.
In order to try to make a difference in the fight to conquer cancer, I participated in and donated to Yoga on the Steps with my classmate, Talya Laver. I took part by doing yoga for about an hour and a half with many breast cancer survivors and supporters. We also sang and ate breakfast together and talked about other events going on to support cancer and ways that we can all help. Yoga on the Steps is an event that was created by Living Beyond Breast Cancer which has been doing this activity on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum for 13 years. So far, Philadelphia has raised about $276,000 out of it’s $310,000 goal, and donations are still being made until June 30, 2014. If you would like to help find a cure for cancer by donating to Yoga on the Steps, click here.
Yoga on the Steps wristband
Yoga participants filling the art museum steps
Talya Laver and I in a yoga pose feeling victorious over cancer.
Participants filling the steps and sidewalk in poses
I may not have made a colossal change by myself, but when thousands or sometimes millions of people donate to an organization to aid in eradicating cancer, it makes a huge difference. If you think that your contribution doesn't make a change, you’re wrong because it takes as many people as possible to fight against varieties of a worldwide, destructive diseases like cancer. One donation can give a patient treatment or pay for needed supplies and testing for research. I have made a change by being part of this difficult battle instead of dismissing it. This project has made me realize that with passion, generosity, and perseverance this is a fight that we can win, but there needs to be support from as many people as possible. During my Agent of Change, I was witness to so many people that were similar to me in that this was such an emotional cause for them. So many people care about this fight and strive to win, we just need more dedication like this to put a stop to cancer.
Although I am proud of the work that I have accomplished for this project there were things I did not have a chance to do. I wish I had raised more money for the Yoga on the Steps by creating a team or having some type of fundraiser. I also wanted to be able to participate in other events that I was not able to like the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure and the Light the Night walk for Lymphoma and Leukemia. The You and the World project has made me realize that with passion, generosity, and perseverance this is a fight that we can win, but there needs to be support from as many people as possible. Also, there are many events that happen in spring that fund cancer research, and many people can only participate in about one or two of these activities since they do not have a lot money to spend at once. So, I think that more of these fundraisers should happen during other seasons in order to generate maximum support. Donations, participating in walks and other events, volunteering, and helping cancer patients are all simple things that we can do in order to fight cancer.
Cancer does not stand a chance against an entire country or even an entire world fighting as one. Why would anyone not want to witness the pain that cancer causes come to an end? Everyone who knows someone who has been diagnosed with, died from, or is a survivor of cancer needs to dedicate their efforts to these people, because they are the ones who truly know how brutal and degrading cancer is to a person and to society. We all owe it to those people to gain vengeance against the horrid cancers that infest this world. With that being said, we must stand up together and battle cancer in anyway possible and never give up until its end. Thank you for reading my blog posts!