As we turn the corner on 2016 and look to 2017 with hope and anticipation, I think it’s important to first say THANK YOU. Healing NET Foundation began three years ago with a vision and dream to think globally about how a physician and patient together could make a difference in the lives of NET patients and their caregivers. Our collective frustration at the lack of knowledge and resources among community physicians, and the possibilities of what technology available in Europe could bring to the U. S. were huge motivators. However, the vision and dreams could not have developed if not for friends and colleagues who believed in the Healing NET Foundation mission, the collaboration with other NET patient advocacy groups and expert physicians and health care professions, and without YOUR support. THANK you for the donations, the sharing of information, and the kind words that keep us going.
Dr. Liu has shared a perspective of where the NET community has come in the last year. I want to add to that from my perspective of both patient and Executive Director of Healing NET Foundation, and also introduce you to some folks who will play key roles in our growth and in our programs for 2017.
Our HNF Board of Directors is made up of patients, caregivers, business men and women, and physicians. They have various reasons why they serve, and I invite you to learn more about them HERE. They all bring different gifts of expertise and experience, but what they all have in common is heart. They want to give back. They want to make a difference.
Each year our Board comes together for a strategy meeting. We evaluate what has been accomplished, and we look at how we can best set up for the future. From our inner workings to the fruits of our labor you see, we put ourselves under the microscope, and we dream. I’d like to share a few insights from our recent session.
Healing NET Foundation has experienced exceptional reach and growth in our three years, and with that comes challenges. As relationships grow, and opportunities present to serve NET patients more, we have to be properly staffed and prepared to take full advantage. There is no time to waste in the NET community. This year we hired an administrative assistant. Several of you met Terrance Lewis this fall at the NCAN conference in New Orleans. He has brought much needed support to the organization; taking care of day to day business including thanking our donors, updating website, and keeping our books in order. As we look to 2017, we see how additional staffing is not a luxury, but a necessity to keep current programs, like the NET Primer and our Insights surveys, growing, and launch new ones.
We are also outgrowing office space, which has been a blessing this past year, as one of our Board members graciously donated in-kind our monthly rent and utilities. What a gift! In 2017, as we add a staff member, we will look for low cost, but appropriate facilities to grow responsibly.
We have set the date for our second HNF Summit, in February 2017. The inaugural Summit, Feb 2016, was an opportunity to see if we could bring together NET physicians from around the world, to discuss the intricacies of this disease. From every discipline, and from many different perspectives, it was a challenge to see if the dialogue could be meaningful and constructive. Wow, we were blown away by the ability of these great minds to debate, think, discuss, and think some more. We saw bridges built, and new collaborations begin. The stage is set for this year to further develop these bridges, and we are adding other health care professionals to the mix. How can the nurse practitioner, and the patient navigator help NET patients travel a complicated medical maze? How can patient advocates all work together to serve the community best?
As we look to 2017 with hope and anticipation, I am struck by the resilience of everyone engaged in this fight for better awareness, education, and care. My family would agree that I’ve always been a bit stubborn. When someone tells me no, I want to know why not. It can be a mixed blessing, but when it comes to surviving NET cancer, it has served me well. I also see that same (let’s call it resilience) quality in the patients I talk with weekly, the physicians and allied health care workers who are so passionate about this work, the folks who have cared and fought for loved ones, and the people who have not been personally touched, but who see a great need, and want to do whatever they can to help exceed it.
Together, we can do this. Thank you.
Cindy Lovelace, Co-Founder and Executive Director, PNET survivor