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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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SWOG's Kilimanjaro Climb for Cancer Clinical Trials

Oct 24, 2014 - For those who heard some of this at the SWOG plenary II session, my apologies. But, this is an important message to get out to all our members, including those who were not able to attend live. We all know that our patients' best hope for improved quantity and quality of life comes from successful clinical cancer research. And we all truly believe cancer research has entered and continues to progress through an exciting era of major breakthroughs in precision medicine, with our own Lung-MAP being a premier example. We also know federal funding for the National Clinical Trials Network Groups is being cut, as it has been for the NIH as a whole.

Make a donation to the Kilimanjaro Climb for Cancer Clinical Trials at swog.org/Kilimanjaro.
At one of my first group meeting plenary sessions as SWOG Chair, I discussed the possibility of a mountaineering expedition, to be used as a SWOG fundraiser. I am happy to announce the project is a go, and it has been expanded somewhat. Working with other NCTN groups, SWOG has officially launched the Kilimanjaro Climb for Cancer Clinical Trials. Our goals are to raise public awareness of the essential nature of cancer clinical trials, and to help patients get onto studies, while at the same time shining a spotlight on the potential crippling effects of recent -- and anticipated -- cuts to the portion of the federal budget that supports the NCTN. And of course, in the face of these budget cuts, we also want to raise funds for The Hope Foundation, which is SWOG's major non-federal line of support.

I'll be joining an expert team of climbers in February to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the Seven Summits. Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, standing a full 5000 feet higher than any spot in the continental United States. We will publicize the climb as a crowdfunding enterprise, and we are partnering with other organizations to increase our reach and impact.

The other NCTN groups are helping us fundraise, primarily by helping us get out word of the campaign. We are also partnering with ASCO's Conquer Cancer Foundation, again with the primary goal of increasing our reach.

You will hear much more about SWOG's Kilimanjaro Climb for Cancer Clinical Trials in the coming weeks. For now, though, I direct you to our promo video for the climb at swog.org/Kilimanjaro.

You can take part in the campaign by making a donation (98% of donated funds go directly to cancer research) or just by liking our Facebook page at facebook.com/ClimbforCancerClinicalTrials and sharing it with others. Together we can raise awareness of just how critical clinical trials are to continuing our progress against cancer.


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