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It’s already a busy year at the Alliance for Lung Cancer, Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE). We have just hired a new Executive Director, James G. Asher, of New York City. Mr. Asher, 56, is a lung cancer survivor. He sold his successful Florida real estate insurance business several years after his 1998 surgery for non-small cell lung cancer. His cancer was diagnosed early, almost by chance. “After my recovery from successful surgery I made several important decisions. I moved from Florida to Manhattan and knew that, as a result of my good fortune, I wanted to contribute to and participate in a worthwhile and positive endeavor.” He became an active Board member with ALCASE, eventually heading the budget and fundraising committees. He served as Board Treasurer until accepting the position of Executive Director.

Mr. Asher, lives in New York City and will lead the organization from there. “We have an excellent staff in Vancouver and an active core of volunteers and Phone Buddies nationally. But there is an urgent need for more grassroots involvement from lung cancer survivors and the families and friends affected by this disease. We have to involve more people in every state. I anticipate more partnerships with other cancer organizations, too. Besides influencing legislation and urging greater research funding, we must challenge the blame that still targets people with lung cancer. No one ‘deserves’ this disease.” Mr. Asher sees some distinct advantages in ALCASE’s presence on both coasts. "Our legislative efforts and numerous corporate relationships are predominantly positioned in the East Coast, and our infrastructure and Director of Operations are located in the West Coast. This is a win-win situation for ALCASE and the people we serve." We welcome his leadership.

Above everything else we do, we value being of service to lung cancer survivors and their family members. That’s why it’s heartening to receive a major grant from Aventis Pharmaceuticals for our Hotline and to re-design our website. Speaking with our Hotline staff is often the first opportunity a caller has to explore questions, hopes, and fears concerning lung cancer. Within the next few months, we think you’ll find our website even more attractive, easy to navigate, and rich with additional information. We’ll be creating a new “Women and Lung Cancer” page, funded by MedImmune Oncology, our newest corporate partner, covering news and topics of special concern to women. Another way we meet the needs of people affected by lung cancer, is through our Phone Buddy program. We invite you to volunteer and discover the mutual benefits of helping others as a Phone Buddy. Email Amber Slider at aeslider@alcase.org to sign up.

Lung cancer advocacy is really getting a boost from our Washington, D.C., representative—and lung cancer survivor—Sheila Ross. A veteran of Capitol Hill, Sheila and some of our friends in Congress managed to get a message about the need for action on lung cancer into the key document that goes with the 2003 Appropriations bill. She also contacts many congressional offices and attends meetings with other cancer advocacy organizations—part of the vital networking so crucial to progress. Sheila, who is part of lungcancersurvivors.org, can be reached at sheilamross@mac.com. ALCASE is also a founding member of a new organization, Women Against Lung Cancer (WALC), begun by Dr. Joan Schiller and other oncologists, researchers, and patient advocates. Dr. Schiller is at the University of Wisconsin Cancer Center.

We’re pleased to welcome the newest members of our Board of Directors, Rogerio Lilenbaum, M.D., and J. Steven Hart. Dr. Lilenbaum, a medical oncologist, is Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine and he specializes in lung cancer at The Mt. Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami, Florida. Mr. Hart is President and CEO of Williams & Jensen, a prominent law firm in Washington, D.C. He brings broad expertise in health policy issues, lobbying, and fundraising. Our Board develops our guiding policies and oversees our organization, and members are active in other ways, too. Recently, President Randy Urmston took time from his law practice to give satellite television interviews about his treatment for lung cancer. Beverly Ward, an attorney in Massachusetts, went before the camera for a public television program about lung cancer screening.

ALCASE staff attends key conferences that keep us informed and able to give you timely news about advances in diagnosing, treating, and caring for people with lung cancer. We bring our exhibit booth to most of these meetings, distributing information to thousands of attendees. We’ll be at the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) in mid-April and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conferences in May. In late June and in August there will be two international lung cancer medical conferences. Near and far, we sense a shift, an increased momentum in lung cancer medical research and advocacy efforts. Much more needs to happen to change the course of lung cancer and we all can do something. Our focus remains with people experiencing lung cancer most personally. That’s why we’re here. We welcome your suggestions and participation in advocacy. It’s wonderful that so many people are joining this online group!


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