So often in the search for new knowledge about cancer, it seems to be “on the boundary” where new discoveries are made, new possibilities unearthed, new partnerships formed, and innovative changes in cancer care can be implemented. Consequently, it is easy to conclude that it is “on the boundary” where a small foundation like the Walther Cancer Foundation belongs. It is this particular space on the broad cancer research continuum where the Foundation can apply its resources and best succeed in its now 23 year old mission to eliminate cancer as a source of suffering and death.
The facts indicate that for over two decades the Walther Cancer Foundation (formerly operating as the Walther Cancer Institute) has served on multiple boundaries in the state of Indiana:
- between cancer research institutions
- between research disciplines
- between researchers and caregivers
- between the caregiving system and cancer patients and their families.
As we look forward, therefore, we must continue to work diligently to bridge each of these boundaries. We must have sufficient patience and determination to uncover innovative ways to permeate and at times soften the boundaries that too often unintentionally work to divide and defeat successful research. We need to apply our funds in ways that institutions, scholars and caregivers can better attain optimal balance between being competitive and collaborative, between being discoverers of new knowledge and caring providers of new care modalities.
The Foundation also finds itself bridging gaps in situations where traditional funding sources are unable to act. Examples include:
- helping research universities accumulate sufficient resources to attract the best talent in highly competitive recruiting environments;
- enabling scientists to protect enough time, free of other academic responsibilities, to energetically pursue their best research ideas;
- providing researchers early in their careers with “start-up” funds to properly test new ideas, so that applications for hard-to-secure federal research dollars have a better chance of success.
- facilitating behavioral oncology research collaboration and training within and across institutions in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
Research success assumes the receptiveness to new possibilities. Yet, too frequently there are boundaries which impede rather than facilitate the application of new knowledge. Cancer care system boundaries must become more permeable if research outcomes are to be translated to improved community practice in a timely manner. Walther Cancer Foundation is committed to strengthening Indiana’s cancer research institutions, to providing resources for innovations in research and to promoting the dissemination and adoption of research results – all to make a demonstrable difference in the lives of cancer patients.
Walther Cancer Foundation is “on the boundary building bridges” that will one day bring an end to the suffering and death of cancer. This was Dr. Joe Walther’s indomitable hope and persistent expectation.
James E. Ruckle PhD
President and CEO