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“To Reach the Unreachable Star”

Opening Speech for the ‘Treasure the Moments – A Journey Through Time’ Virtual Fundraiser by Dana Dornsife

Hello again!  We are all so very appreciative of your participation tonight. For 15 years many of us have traveled a journey together to give the gifts of hope and life to cancer patients and their families – who courageously stay engaged in their cancer battle through clinical trials.  We welcome all to join the Lazarex family and make a difference.

Throughout history, there are countless poems, songs, speeches, and plays that embrace the notions of making the impossible possible, and of unity – the act of coming together as one. Don Quixote dreamed the impossible dream to reach the unreachable star, Martin Luther King movingly spoke of his dreams to achieve true equality, John Lennon imagined that the world would be as one. And yet these simple and beautiful notions continue to elude us.   

During the past two years we have become intimately familiar with how to endure  – each of us in our own way – based upon the unique challenges that have invaded our lives.  We have tested our levels of adaptation and tolerance and many of us have come to know grief in ways we had never thought possible and will never forget. Once again, societal disparity has become REAL for ALL of us, but UNDENIABLY for residents of our communities of color where COVID disproportionately tipped the scale and shattered an ALREADY fragile existence.  And this has ALWAYS been the case in relation to cancer where people of color have and continue to experience greater obstacles to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survival – especially amongst African Americans.    

In one minute, we will embark on a journey through time together beginning in the future in 2071, where we will follow five generations of an African American family and their breast cancer experience. We will traverse 150 years and use the lens of history and the promise of the future to help us see more clearly what is possible. 

Lazarex has always been focused on removing barriers, addressing cancer health disparities, and achieving equitable access to cancer clinical trials for EVERY patient.  Our resolve is stronger now than ever to stay the course and do better on behalf of ALL patients and not just with words but with ACTION. But, until we ACTUALLY achieve equitable access for all cancer patients, we will continue to provide them the gifts of hope and life, and our donor community makes this possible. Thank you – our donor community – for rising to this challenge.  At Lazarex we believe that challenge equals change and together we can make what seems impossible possible! I hope you enjoy the journey – I’ll see you in 2071!

Dana TTM Blog
Dana Dornsife, Founder and CEO, Lazarex Cancer Foundation