My Dad was one tough dude. Real tough. The only thing on this planet that could bring him down, did. Cancer robbed him from us at the young age of 50 in 1994. As a pharmacist and hospital administrator he was well aware that being diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 1992 his odds of beating it were 1 in 50. He went down swinging – if there was a surgery or experimental protocol he was up for it. Since then I’ve been a fan, donor, advocate, supporter, walker, board member of organizations focused on the ridding our world of the killer medical enigma.
Kevin Bacon and the theory of six degrees of separation has nothing on cancer — the pervasive disease and has touched just about everyone I know.
What happens when it cured?
Billions upon billions of dollars, millions and millions of hours of work, research, support, care and prayer are invested in cancer’s demise. What happens when our prayers are answered? What’s next? ALS, MS, AIDS, CP, etc.? Who determines what is next?
The US government agency National Cancer Institute has a budget of $4.86 billion to fund research. According to Guidestar the American Cancer Society has revenues exceeding $400 million — the CEO earns a $1.2 million salary. I won’t decry the salaries or revenues, I’ve seen the work first hand and I’m sure every penny is earned in leading an organization of that magnitude.
Is there a red binder encased in glass somewhere that says, “In Case of Cure Break Glass”? Does the binder outlay an entire strategic response should a cure be found?
As I look over at my two daughters who my Dad never met I wonder when the American Cancer Society will declare victory. And I look forward to it.
Does your organization’s mission have an end? We celebrate “victory” for achieving fund raising goals. Should we declare victory when the societal ills we strive to overcome are eradicated?
Is it a disservice to operate on the assumption that victory is impossible?
What if we operated as though victory were inevitable?
As leaders of movements, initiatives and social enterprises, we need to define victory and it is our responsibility to be able answer “what’s next?” upon achieving it.
Know, visualize and communicate your definition of victory.
So, what’s your next?