Thursday, July 21, 2016

#478 DC Bound

Hi Washington

The craziness of life is slowly calming down reaching into the near normal range so I'll share the last few weeks of life in the Gooze house.

A week and a half ago I boarded a plane to Washington DC to participate in the scientific peer review for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).  Being selected to be on this panel with eighteen extremely distinguished PhD's and medical doctors was quite an honor and a way to roar once more.  The panel consisted of me, three other patient advocates and researchers with enough brain power that could launch us towards a cure for cancer.

The history behind my trip began in late May when I received my first grant proposal along with a couple of webinars to educate me on how to meet the challenge before me.  To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement but I persevered and eventually figured out what they meant and the necessary comments to complete the task.  It was gratifying to see all the possibilities of research for breast cancer and if even one of the proposals discovers the elusive cure it will be well worth the time and money put in to this entire effort.

I was assigned a mentor for the duration and she was simply amazing in her ability to understand my bumbling emails especially when I had a question or two (there were definitely more than two but less than a hundred) on a regular basis.

When departure day came and I landed in DC I was reassured that all was well when the bus picked me up, my room was ready at the hotel and I found the right room to enter on my first panel discussion.  Our chair and cochair were extremely competent and thorough in their explanation of how the sessions would proceed. Fascinating process and they have been doing this since 1992 so it is an efficiently run machine.

In our group we all had a vote and, as a patient advocate, I felt my voice was heard loud and clear.  The first time I spoke into the microphone was a bit intimidating but after getting the virgin launch out of the way I felt comfortable sharing and speaking out about MBC.

I discovered that the researchers and patient advocates alike were determined every effort was made to find the best science that will catapult us into making this a chronic disease. We voted with the knowledge that each proposal with high ratings will help millions of those living with cancer.

This was truly a memorable experience even though I moaned and groaned while reading and commenting on each grant prior to the big collaboration in DC.  I know the researchers who will ultimately be selected will have a profound affect on future generations and I felt privileged and honored to be a part of it.

Thanks for reading #478 of 7777.

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