Tackling Racial Disparities in the Fight against Cancer

Last week, the V Foundation posted a statement expressing our emphatic belief that black lives matter.  We underscored the plight of African Americans who are disproportionately affected by cancer.  We know that African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest length of survival of any racial ethnic group for most cancers. This is not news to us, nor is it acceptable to us.

Five years ago the V Foundation created the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund to support the work of minority scientists as well as research that is dedicated to the aggressiveness, therapeutic responsiveness, and ultimate outcomes for black cancer patients and other minority populations. And in these years, ESPN and Bristol Myers Squibb, and many of you, have supported this fund.  To date we have invested over $10 million in the name of Stuart Scott to fight these disparities.

And now I’m honored to tell you how people are stepping up yet again to help. ESPN is highlighting the important research funded by the Stuart Scott Fund in its programming during this week’s ESPYS and Sports Humanitarian Awards.  And our extraordinary partners at Bristol Myers Squibb have just announced that they are adding another $ 1 million to Stuart’s fund as we together do our part to close the gap, overcome racism, unconscious bias, and disparities in our work to end cancer.  They too have a long standing commitment to equity for patients and care givers alike; and we are so very grateful for their donation, which will be directed toward funding for African American investigators in the field of cancer research.

My heart is warm — and my passion is stoked.  I challenge each of you to stand up and step in.  We CAN do this.  We CAN make a difference.  We will not give up, we will never give up.