Earlier this week I was again a consumer reviewer for the peer review panels of Department of Defense breast cancer research grants. It is always a wonderful but overwhelming experience. Our panel had 16 scientists and 4 consumer reviewers (survivors) who reviewed over 40 applications for possible funding. Although the science details can be difficult to decipher it is great to hear about what researchers are trying to develop to treat and prevent breast cancer.
I also meet many wonderful survivors from around the country over the three days. For me this is like being at "ground zero" for advocacy. Being part of this process is so rewarding for me to know that I am helping possible advancements in cancer research. The scientists know the details of what is reasonable to do but the survivors are there to help point out the potential impact if the research is successful and "humanize" the process. They talk about taking things from "bench to bedside". The scientists are the bench (labs) and we are the bedside (those impact by the research). All of us, probable over 1,000 people, coming together to try to conquer this beast.