Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer InitiativeBy Rick Scott
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it’s a life-altering moment for the patient that will challenge and reprioritize their entire life. A barrage of thoughts and fears race through the mind and a person can’t help feeling helpless and alone as they prepare to enter the ring for the fight of their life. Amgen wants you to know that you are not alone and that they are firmly in your corner.
As a complementary component to its sponsorship of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, Amgen, a biotechnology pioneer that discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics, created the national Breakaway from Cancer (www.breakawayfromcancer.com) initiative in 2005. The Breakaway from Cancer initiative is designed to increase awareness of the important resources available to cancer patients from prevention to education, and patient care to advocacy and financial support. Similar to cycling where it takes a solid team to help a rider breakaway from the peloton and ride to victory, it takes innovative medicines along with a strong support network to help a person breakaway from cancer. Amgen Oncology is committed to working closely with patients, caregivers, support organizations, and healthcare professionals to provide the best possible outcomes for people fighting cancer. There are nearly 10 million cancer survivors in the United States today and more than 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed this year. “One person alone does not beat cancer. It takes a team. Amgen's sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California provides us with an opportunity to support the millions of people affected by cancer,” said Stuart A. Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, oncology business unit, at Amgen. “Amgen is committed to working with our Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partner organizations to raise awareness of the vital programs and services they provide that support people fighting cancer.”
Last year, the Breakaway from Cancer initiative had two nonprofit teammates: the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and The Wellness Community. As the Breakaway from Cancer initiative heads into its fourth year, Amgen has added four more charitable partners to the team - the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer, the Patient Advocate Foundation and the Prevent Cancer Foundation - forming an even more formidable force to further empower cancer patients and their families with education and hope to live well with the disease. Amgen is fully committed to supporting the valuable programs and services provided by the Team Breakaway partner organizations.
Focused on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors, the Lance Armstrong Foundation unites people through programs and experiences to empower survivors to live on their own terms and to raise awareness and funds for the fight against the disease. The oldest survivor-led advocacy organization in the country, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship advocates for quality cancer care for all Americans and empowers cancer survivors. The Patient Advocate Foundation seeks to safeguard patients through effective mediation assuring access to care, maintenance of employment and preservation of their financial stability relative to their diagnosis of life threatening or debilitating diseases. The Prevent Cancer Foundation is focused on educating the public about how to prevent cancer, as well as the importance of screening and early detection. The Stand Up To Cancer initiative raises awareness and funds to accelerate ground-breaking research that will get new therapies to patients quickly. Launched last May, the program is part of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and draws on the industry's resources in the fight against the disease as never before. The Wellness Community is an international organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people with cancer and their caretakers.
Since the inception of the race, cyclists of all abilities have had the opportunity to pedal their bikes in support of Breakaway from Cancer. On February 8th, Breakaway from Cancer benefit rides will be held in San Francisco and Thousands Oaks, the latter of which is the home of Amgen. In San Francisco, 12-time Tour de France veteran and multiple Amgen Tour of California stage winner George Hincapie will lead the ride, while some of his Team Columbia teammates will be at the front of the Thousand Oaks peloton. Participants will have the chance to meet and ride with some of the world’s best professional cyclists while raising money to support Breakaway from Cancer.
"Since the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, I have been a part of the Breakaway from Cancer initiative,” said Hincapie, a five-time Olympian. “Nearly everyone is touched by cancer, including my family, and it's important for those affected to realize they don't have to face the illness alone. Just as in cycling where it takes a support team to help a rider breakaway from the pack, it takes a strong support network to help a person with cancer face the many hurdles throughout treatment."
In 2007, Amgen created the Breakaway Mile, which took place at the finish line prior to the conclusion of the Amgen Tour of California stage in four cities. The one-mile bike ride honors cancer survivors everywhere and features a local cancer survivor riding with the survivor’s critical support team including caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals and an Amgen scientist who plays a crucial role in developing breakthrough medicines. This event also celebrates the many scientific innovations that have and will lead to new treatments for cancer patients. This year, the Breakaway Mile will be held in Santa Rosa, Modesto, Paso Robles and Escondido.
Established in 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science’s promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab to manufacturing plant to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people’s lives. And as long as the need exists, Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative will continue to help those touched by the disease take an active role in their recovery and find the tools they need to live well with – and beyond – the disease.
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Rick Scott is president of Great Scott P.R.oductions, an entertainment and sports public relations, marketing and management boutique. He can be contacted through www.greatscottpr.com.