“Having a patient voice at meetings like the GI Cancer Symposium helps to bridge the gap between the physician, the researcher and the patient,” said Kim Ryan, Director of Patient Information Services at Fight Colorectal Cancer. “Patients are interested in not only their own care, but how research in the field of colorectal cancer is advancing for all GI cancer patients. This meeting will provide our research advocates with keen insight into the drug development process, the research process and how important therapies are discovered to help treat all GI cancers."
The advocates will attend the symposium thanks to a scholarship program funded by Genentech and Genomic Health. Their attendance at the symposium is the culmination of a course offered to members of Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Research Advocacy Training and Support (RATS) group.
The scholarship recipients include:
• Elaine Newcomb
• Elizabeth Dennis
• Florence Kurttila
• Kristin Keesen
• Wanda Addy
All five of the attendees were chosen for the course based on their interest in influencing the research system and desire to serve their patient community by disseminating research results that will influence patient care.
“Myself, my dad, my grandma and uncle all had colorectal cancer; my grandma passed away from cancer and this year my dad lost his 33-year battle,” said Liz Dennis, an advocate from Arizona. “I have become even more passionate about finding out more about research, newer drugs and treatments of all stages. I am on the cancer advisory board at my hospital and I run the support group. I want to be able to take back what I learn to help others and translate the new research for them!”
The GI Cancer Symposium is the culmination of a course involving eLearning classes for self study, background assignments, and participation in a series of web lectures. While in San Francisco, advocates will tour labs and manufacturing facilities, network with experts and attend lectures regarding the treatment of colorectal cancer.
“At first I was completely intimidated and afraid of being involved with scientists but I have found they need survivors as much as we need them,” said Kristin Keesen, an advocate from Colorado. “We give scientists information they cannot find in the lab. They count on us just as much as we count on them.”
To learn more about the RATS program at Fight Colorectal Cancer, visit http://fightcolorectalcancer.org/
About Fight Colorectal Cancer
Fight Colorectal Cancer is a leading colorectal cancer nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Through patient education, advocacy and research funding the group spreads awareness and demands a cure for the second-leading killer in the United States. As the leading advocacy group, the organization serves as a resource for colorectal cancer patients, grassroots advocates, policy makers, medical professionals and health care providers. Learn more at http://www.FightColorectalCancer.org.