Back in the day, when I headed in to the lab at Georgetown, AACR was the meeting to go to. It’s the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research and it’s a huge meeting where scientists present their data. Ideas are shared, collaborations are built, relationships are made. And since I went to meetings in New Orleans and San Francisco, some very delicious food was eaten! I haven’t been in years– since graduate school. AACR is working to increase the role of patient advocates in the scientific process, and so they sponsor the Survivor<->Scientist Program. It gives a cancer survivor the opportunity to attend the meeting, getting to know other advocates and gaining the benefit of a scientist mentor to help make the meeting a little easier to understand.
This year, I am honored to be a part of this program on behalf of the group at Georgetown. Each SSP advocate is required to present a poster at the meeting. It’s sort of like a grown up science fair where thousands of researchers stand by huge posters of their work. In addition to being able to see talks by some of the greatest minds in cancer research, I’ll be able to peruse posters of the latest work going on in labs around the country and across the world. And for a four hour time slot on Monday morning, I’ll be able to share my poster with all of them. (Or at least those who wander by!) I worked with the ladies in the group at Georgetown to come up with a poster summarizing the role of our research advocacy group at Georgetown. Just like those dreaded group projects from high school, working with so many had its struggles– technology, waiting on information, trying to get all those ideas in! But not only am I happy that it’s done, I really do think it’s better for all the input of the group. They had some great ideas and I think the finished product will represent the group well.
I hope I’ll get to see some exciting research. I’m looking forward to meeting so many new advocates as a part of the SSP program, and I’m hoping I might run into a few familiar faces while I’m there. A few of the other ladies from Georgetown will be joining me for the poster session, and above all, I hope that we will have the opportunity to broaden the perspective of research advocacy in the cancer research community.
So now just a few things left to do before I leave… I’ll pick up the poster tomorrow. Business cards are ready to go. Fingers crossed that Sam Torrey managed to repair the shoes my dog chewed up (oh, the horror!) so they can get packed along with everything else. And then I’ll need to do a little cooking so that Clay can single parent it and still do a little of his own work, too. You’d better believe I’ll appreciate a few days off of constantly making those kids food!
And if you happen to be one of my science friends or one of my advocate friends and will be at AACR, let’s get in touch! My poster session is Monday morning, add it to your itinerary!