In the early morning hours, the massive power of 30 years spent, Atlantis floated to earth, and rolled to still. Decades of research, engineering and effort came to their natural end. Spent were space dreams of my youth. Tens of thousands of past problems solved, the shuttle program is no more. When I think of all that work, all that achievement, I dream now of solving the problem of my adulthood…it is time to cure cancer.
The race to space and the war on cancer, share much. They both present complex puzzles with thousands of moving parts. In space, the extremes are of heat, cold, pressure, vacuum, time, and distance. In cancer, the extremes are of age, biology, chemistry, genetics, molecular physics, radiation, environment and the soul. Both present overwhelming challenges for the mind and imagination of man. In the end both share one goal, whether exploration out to the stars or deep into our cells, the challenge is to preserve life.
Cancer is many diseases, started by many causes, always producing the same end – unwanted growth. Its complexity requires our best minds, our finest basic science, fortunes of treasure and the kind of drive, which would have a starship doing cartwheels around the sun. However, it can be beaten. Just as we hold our astronauts heroes on pedestals to great achievement, we must inspire, support and honor our scientists in the their quest to destroy this dread disease.
We have been to the moon and spent thousands of hours in space. Now is a moment to remember, that right here we have a challenge as hard as any rocket scientist ever faced. I know these are tough times in a tough world, but I also understand that much we face daily are only the problems of now. Curing cancer is forever. We must focus on the battles that take innocent lives every day. The war on cancer must finally be won.