Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Forbes Healthcare Summit

The blog has over 10,000 views and in 14 different countries, from Sri Lanka to Ghana. Which means my 4 readers are traveling quite a lot and hitting the refresh button too many times. But seriously, thanks for feels like yesterday that I was writing my first post, unsure of what the response would be. You'll be pleased to know the response has been good. And those of you in France and Greece give me a call, those countries are high on my to do list.

In other news, I'm so excited to tell you guys about the Forbes Healthcare Summit in NYC. I'm going to include details this time, so to all you 21st century kids with short ass attention spans this is the part where you just scroll through to look at the pictures.

Second to being related to Timmy Toes, speaking at the Summit may have been my greatest honor so far. It was a gathering of the cream of the crop in: the medical field, data/ technology/ innovation in general, health insurance, and research. I found out just before the Summit that these participants had to be invited and then pay over $1,000 to attend. Did not help the nerves. I was originally scheduled for an afternoon panel but was switched to a morning spotlight session...which was actually for the best. My invitation to speak was via Foundation Medicine...the peeps who did my genomic sequencing to discover my ROS1 mutation.
Now I'll skip to the speech actually went well! But it was thanks to my mentor from Foundation Medicine, Deborah Morosini. You can google her yourself, but take it from me she's fabulous. Her sister, Dana Reeve (who most of you know as original Superman Christopher Reeve's wife), passed away from lung cancer and was one of the first major advocates for the disease. Deborah helped make my speech more personal and moving and instilled some confidence in me so I could own the room (which by the way was beautiful and overlooked Central Park at Columbus Circle). Even more surprising than the speech going well was the response from it. I even brought two ladies to tears...success I suppose? And all throughout the day these top docs were approaching me telling me I was inspirational and motivating. What!? Me? It was crazy, I was so happy to put a face to their work and to be a walking success of hundreds of hours in the lab. (If only these doctors knew that this 22 year old still occasionally, maybe excessively, listens to Taylor Swift, One Direction, and is overly excited for the upcoming Minions movie.)
It was also fascinating to be on this side of the discussion...numbers, prices, more prices, trials, data organization, trends, and the future..most exciting part. The whole Summit will likely be going on Youtube soon...I'll let you know when. But here's a great article talking about my speech and another theme of the day: astronomical drug prices.
New cancer treatment represent major breakthroughs but who is going to pay for them

After the Summit, Deborah spoiled me with an amazing NY experience: nails, hair, Russian Tea House, On the Town the play, yummy foods, and really insightful conversations. Such an amazing, unforgettable trip. (We even saw Jamie Foxx.)

The bathroom alone in the hotel was enough for me. The price for one night at this hotel was more than my monthly apartment rent in Berkeley. I'm not exaggerating this time.


Pictures of the Summit.

 Morning speech.

Afternoon Q and A.
Steve Forbes came up to me after my speech! How crazy is that? He was so kind and appreciative that I shared my story. 
The beautiful Deborah Morosini.

Tea time with Deborah at the Russian Tea House. 
On the Town play with Deborah. Wonderful, recommend seeing it. My fav song was Carried Away.

Walking through the Ny streets with Ny veteran Deborah.

Right after NYC, I was off to Vermont to hang with the lovely, talented Carson, live it up, and finally see Burlington...a little cold but loved the city.

Beautiful Vermont. 

Next week I have the amazing opportunity to visit Foundation Medicine's headquarters in Cambridge, MA. I get to finally tell them thank you in person and give a quick speech at their holiday party. So cancer journey has truly been lucky in many ways.
Thanks for reading. And to my cancer brothers and sisters, I think hope is the most powerful medicine...don't ever lose it! Until next time, kwa heri.