I recently had the honor of speaking at the National Cancer Moonshot Summit held at the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. It was one of several summits and hundreds of watch parties happening all across the nation at the same time. These events were simultaneous so that we could magnify the vice president’s message that in order to end cancer in our lifetimes, we must redouble our efforts.

Standing in front of a room full of researchers, I reminded them that more than 1.7 million people will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year and that all of them will be relying on research to treat it.

But innovation requires investment. There have been incredible advancements in technology since we first identified cancer as a killer. However, those advancements don’t matter if we refuse to provide researchers with the resources to capitalize on them.

The vice president called on the cancer community to make commitments to conquer this disease. We are doing that. Right now, Congress has the opportunity to make their own commitment to the National Cancer Moonshot by increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute — money that would be directed right back here to fund young researchers at universities and institutions like the Louisiana Cancer Research Center.

Congress, it’s time to do your part. Commit to conquering cancer. Fund the Moonshot and fuel the hope.

Lydia Kuykendal

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

New Orleans