Yesterday morning the nation awoke to the news that Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy passed away following a year-long battle with brain cancer. As an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people throughout the world who are touched by multiple myeloma, the IMF is particularly saddened by Sen. Kennedy’s death.
For the past half century, there has been no greater champion for the cause of improving healthcare for all Americans than Sen. Kennedy. One of his last legislative acts was to introduce, along with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the 21st Century ALERT Act to update the 1971 National Cancer Act.
In his statement introducing the bill (http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=619520a7-5556-4c3e-ab40-1a2dcb07e989), Sen. Kennedy stated that "cancer today is no longer the automatic death sentence that it was when the war [on cancer] began." He understood, as few do, that a comprehensive approach including research, clinical trials, healthy living initiatives, public and medical education, and issues of survivorship—including mental health and social support—are all essential to address the needs of the more than 1.4 million Americans who are diagnosed annually with cancer. The 21st Century ALERT Act is both a timely and eloquent recognition that "we must move from a magic bullet approach to a broad mosaic of care..." This is something that we in the myeloma community understand and passionately support.
We hope that his vision and dedication to championing healthcare reform will inspire policy makers and citizens alike to take up the torch and finish the job. And as members of myeloma and cancer communities, we hope that the realization of the 21st Century ALERT Act will become one of his greatest legacies.
On behalf of the myeloma community, we extend our condolences to the Kennedy family. We share their grief and celebrate the life of a great American.
|Susie Novis |
|Brian G.M. Durie, M.D. |
Chairman, Board of Directors