After 14 years with LIVESTRONG, I am embracing a new set of opportunities that allow me to continue my service to the cancer community and share what I’ve learned about cancer, health policy and patients’ needs with another group of devoted cancer fighters. My family and I will be relocating to Columbus, Ohio, at the end of the year where I will be the CEO of Pelotonia, a movement that has raised $80 million for cancer research in just six years. In addition, I will be an advisor to The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, known as “The James.” I also look forward to becoming part of the vibrant business community in Columbus in multiple capacities.
Serving LIVESTRONG for the past 14 years has truly been an honor. I am grateful to the Foundation’s devoted team, its tireless supporters and faithful donors for their commitment to a mission that has served millions battling cancer. I am very proud and thankful for the progress we achieved together, advancing the fight against cancer and embracing a mission of service to survivors, their families and friends.
While I’m incredibly excited about what lies ahead, leaving the Foundation is a difficult decision both personally and professionally. Not only have I loved working with my colleagues, but I’ve also have had the privilege of meeting survivors, their families and friends who have inspired me. I am so proud of the work that we do and the impact that LIVESTRONG has every day.
When this opportunity came my way, I knew that I would be leaving an organization that is strong and poised for its next phase of growth and evolution. Our partnership with The University of Texas Dell Medical School establishing the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes is a game changer for the Foundation and for the way we serve cancer patients. It’s a chance to test and perfect what we’ve learned about patient-centered care, to spread new practices that improve outcomes for patients and their families and to be on the ground floor of a revolutionary undertaking.
For the past two years I’ve been devoted to making the dream of the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes a reality. The day we announced the launch of the Institutes was one of the proudest of my professional life. I have no doubt that someone with fresh eyes, steady hands, excellent experience and a temperament suited to the greatest non-profit culture in the U.S will be thrilled to help the Institutes succeed.
The Foundation will continue to use the knowledge we get from our daily interactions with cancer survivors – through such programs as our cancer navigation services, Camp Kesem for the kids of cancer patients, or our very successful LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, which gets patients and survivors up and moving at their local Y’s. These free programs will continue to make a difference and serve as the models for much of our work designing the Institutes.
I look back on what we’ve collectively achieved with both pride and humility.
•In 2004, we created the LIVESTRONG wristband, a moment that made global history and revolutionized charitable giving. For the first time, anyone in the world was able to instantly contribute to a cause and show their support for people affected by cancer.
•Later in that decade, we worked with many of our partners to secure passage of Prop 15 in Texas, a groundbreaking measure that established the largest fund for cancer prevention and research outside of the federal government.
•Together we crafted LIVESTRONG’s free patient navigation services, which help patients overcome the financial, practical, emotional and physical effects of cancer.
•And year after year, we have welcomed old friends and new supporters to the LIVESTRONG Challenge, which this year will be augmented with the culmination of the Big C social innovation competition on October 18 – work that was done hand-in-hand with survivors – seeing what the cancer community wants and needs and responding to them.
Some of the moments that remain the most precious to me happened during the Foundation’s toughest days when we found ourselves a reluctant part of a global dialogue that had little to do with our day-to-day mission. During those exhausting and anxious days, we were the recipients of friendship, grace and support that we never expected. I believe it changed all of us profoundly, brought us closer together and strengthened our devotion to our cause.
I will always support the Foundation and its outstanding free services for people affected by cancer and will remain sincerely and deeply grateful for the opportunity that Lance Armstrong and Jeff Garvey gave me to become a part of the LIVESTRONG mission. I appreciate the support that the entire board has shown me during my time as CEO and especially in recent days as we discussed this transition.
I will remain in my role as president and CEO of LIVESTRONG through the end of this year while the board conducts a search for the next leader of our Foundation. I look forward to the chance to celebrate with the people, patients, survivors and supporters of LIVESTRONG who I will always consider family.
Thank you again for 14 years of great memories and impact!