A normal OCF “in-person” walk event in one city can raise 50k in sponsorships, registrations, and supporter donations of registered walk/run participants. What happens when it becomes a national effort, with the potential participation that entails? Can we fund the next breakthrough ideas? If you want or need to know more, please read on.

You may not be aware that during the last two years, but particularly during the first 6 months of this year when the Virus dominated our lives 24-7, that cancer issues, including the funding of research, and much more have been financially cut back on both the federal level and even at pharma companies. The national focus changed.  Even cancer patient treatments in some places have been postponed, as hospitals try to keep them separate from COVID patients. We want you to consider this. CANCER DID NOT TAKE A BREAK BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS. Two million Americans will newly find themselves in a battle for their lives this year alone. Sadly, about 600,000 of them will die from it this year. This is nothing new, and there is the issue. We are not shocked by these numbers any longer, but we should be.  600,000 deaths each year in America alone. Cancer has been humankind’s deadly companion since before recorded history. And any progress we have made against it, while hopeful, has been incremental. Because we have grown accustomed to its deadly toll, we have grown numb to these shocking numbers. It is still happening every day; and our cancer, it is one of very few that is actually getting worse each year in incidence, not better. But opportunities to change this still exist, and we must see that they are not compromised nor slowed down. We all know the terrible impact that the HPV virus has had on our cancer. It has been the driver of increasing numbers of head and neck cancers for decades. We now have a vaccine that will prevent HPV infections in the next generation, meaning that etiology portion of our cancer population will increasingly become smaller. As the reservoir of HPV virus in the population is reduced, so will its ability to be commonly transferred between sexual partners. BUT what about those that are too old to get the vaccine and who are already infected? One of the researchers that your walk donations will help fund is working on low toxicity, patient-specific vaccines for people who have a persistent HPV infection, one that will generate a T cell immune response before the patient even develops a pre-cancerous lesion. That is a game-changing idea. This research could actually be the key to seeing the incidence rate in HPV infections persisting and converting cells to cancer DECLINE. We would have the existing preventative vaccine opportunity AND an interventional therapy that could make HPV less of a player in the already infected population. This would ultimately lead to herd immunity, and population level protection. While we are interested in the oral, head and neck cancer world, the impact would not be limited to our HPV caused cancers. Isn’t this a worthy reason to join the walk all by itself?

The three largest sponsors and the three largest donor teams will be recognized in a national press release at the events end. The team captains and/or their designee will be interviewed for a segment on the OCF podcast Oral Cancer Answers, available on Apple iTunes and numerous podcast platforms online, which also has a national following.

So please, join us. Sign up, form a team, bring in your friends and family, your co-workers. Take a walk with meaning, and a bigger purpose. Help us aid those in the present, and change our disease in the future. We can do this together, ONE STEP AT A TIME. You can register for the walk on the Oral Cancer Foundation website at: https://donate.oralcancerfoundation.org/