The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) announced that the premiere Livestrong Global Cancer Summit will take place August 24-26, 2009, in Dublin, Ireland. The Summit follows Lance Armstrong's participation in the Tour of Ireland, from August 19-23. The Summit will address the global cancer burdens and introduce new commitments to controlling cancer by international collaboration by world leaders, corporations, non-governmental organisations and advocates.
LAF founder Armstrong explained the goal of the campaign. "Unless we act on a global level, cancer will be the leading cause of death by 2010. Our goal is to be the catalyst that brings everyone together to fight cancer — from survivors, like me, to world leaders and policymakers who must commit completely to the effort to avoid a public health catastrophe. The Summit provides an invaluable opportunity to stand up for the 28 million cancer survivors worldwide and to create a unified effort to control cancer through new commitments to action," Armstrong said.
In a separate announcement in Dublin, Ireland's Minister for Health, Mary Harney, said Ireland was very pleased to welcome the Summit to Dublin in August. "Cancer Control is a top priority for the Irish Government. The themes of the Summit fit well with our new national Cancer Control Strategy and anti-tobacco initiatives we have taken, such as the ban on smoking in the workplace."
Irish Cancer Society CEO John McCormack said, "We still have a lot to do in the fight against cancer. By 2020, it is estimated there will be more than 40,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Ireland. We can and must act to reduce the rate of preventable cancer and this summit gives us the opportunity to increase cancer awareness and take actions which will save lives."
Darach McQuaid, project director for the Tour of Ireland, said, "The massive, positive public reaction to Lance Armstrong's comeback to the sport in Australia in January and California in February indicate that by the time Lance arrives in Ireland next August, the interest levels will be at fever pitch. I am confident that we can provide Lance with a challenging course and via our global broadcast, promote his cancer message in over 140 television markets around the world."
Rudd and Clinton among supporters
Already, world leaders are indicating their intent to send high-level representation and make commitments. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former US President Bill Clinton are included in the early list of leaders expressing support. The Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign made immediate progress when it launched in Australia this January with several new commitments to cancer control from the Australian government and NGOs. In addition, conversations are ongoing with the Kingdom of Jordan to announce a substantial new commitment in that country.
"I hope a decade from now we can look back on this campaign and see that there truly is a global cancer movement – one that has adequately funded cancer research, cut the death rate to zero and maximised the amount of prevention and education and advocacy that can be done," said Clinton. "And that it has helped people to live with and overcome cancer with the support they need."
The Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign will head to Mexico in late February and then on to Europe for the Giro d'Italia (May 9-31) and the Tour de France (July 4-26).
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