Gregory J. Redington’s idea.
Started about late 2006.
While reading the Tuesday NY Times newspaper, Science Times section.
I saw two articles of interest within a few weeks of each other.
The first was a story about the impact of cancer, including estimates for the anticipated time it was going to take to cure different types of cancer at the current rate of research. They also mentioned that 1 in 4 people will eventually die of cancer.
The other article was about space exploration and the research that is going on to try to figure out what happened during the start of the universe (the big bang). The article went on to discuss how much money was being spent on a particle accelerator in Europe, the huge man hours that were going into it, and all the facilities that were being used throughout the world to help determine what happened during the big bang.
I was amazed that so many resources were being spent on things, that in my opinion, are not as immediately important as finding the cure to the ailment that will affect 25% of our population.
I started to try to figure out how to divert some of the resources (Money, people, facilities & equipment, etc.) away from the “less important” research being performed today, and towards the “more important” research. Somewhat like the “war effort” mentality that our entire country had during the two World Wars. Shouldn’t cancer, and other major critical issues (diabetes, HIV, global warming, renewable energy, etc.) be addressed as soon as possible, with all of our resources (within practicability) in order to get to the solutions of these items? Once, these more critical items are solved, or at least, have the momentum needed to achieve a quick solution, then other items of interest such as space exploration, etc. will become the priority, and more efforts should be diverted towards them.
And why should we talk about using only the current research resources for these tasks? What about all the other resources available? What about all the smart people in other industries: bankers, engineers, scientists, doctors, biologists, geologists, artists, architects, politicians, philosophers, accountants, computer programmers, and entrepreneurs?
If the current 20,000 cancer researchers can cure cancer within 20 years, can 40,000 scientists cure it in 10-15?
What do these experts know about cancer? Can they help? I can hear people say that cancer research is already so specialized that it may take 5-10 years of education to just get to the level of understanding you would need to be on the cutting edge to help out at all. But is that really true? And does everyone involved need to be on the cutting edge? Time and time again, in history, in the factory, board room, laboratory, and trading floor, isn’t it the novice who comes up with the out-of-the-box idea that starts the revolution? How many inventions have we developed and now depend upon, that were discovered by mistake, or by accident, or by just blood sweat and tears trial and error?
Wouldn’t it be interesting if part of growing up in our society contained one year of ones life which was dedicated towards the study of the solution of one of these critical issues (from here on we will concentrate on cancer, which is, in my humble opinion, the largest monster in this closet of critical issues).
In today’s world there are certain “givens”; after 8th grade you continued on to high school. As a Jewish 13 year old you have a bar (bat) mitzvah, Catholic children have baptism, then first communion, and finally confirmation. Young Mormon adults go on 1-2 year long “missions” to go out in the world to promote Mormonism.
Wouldn’t it be great if that part of being an American, was to spend a year of your life working towards the cause of curing cancer?
It would be a given. It would be expected on every resume. It would be part of one’s existence as an American, or as a person. It may start off as a grass roots effort which goes main stream. It would turn into the fabric of being an American, something that everyone, everyone, everyone did. It would be unquestionable. A fact. Just like breathing. Just like wearing clothes when you go outside. It would be a common question: “Where did you spend your year?”
Some people could volunteer, others would have to be paid of course. It would have to be at the same rate as the rate that you would be able to achieve in the open work force, with your skills and experience. Others may choose not to spend their time, and will instead contribute money, companies may choose to contribute employees, or underwrite their employee’s work.
There are a lot of people that just want to contribute. There are tons of people that don’t do the Peace Corps due to rejection, time commitment, living abroad, etc. There are lots of people who want to work for “a cause”, and are between careers, jobs, retired, or are available part time.
What about older people, who have already finished their education, and wanted to get in the program. Maybe like “the family leave act” there will be a “one year for cancer act” that would allow the working individual to leave for a year, and return afterwards to the same position at the same company.
Professors in universities already have a sabbatical system in place to study elsewhere for ½ – 1 year every 5-10 years. Why not take the year to study cancer? Why not extend the sabbatical system into corporate America for these type of causes?
People can work within their field of expertise towards the goal of curing cancer. Chefs can cook at laboratories for the scientists, carpenters can help build new facilities, MBA’s can help manage this huge organization constantly moving people into and out of positions every year. Public figures can go out and promote the idea of OYFC (One year for Cancer). There is a spot for everyone.
Facilities and equipment, I imagine, are readily available if there is money to buy/get/make them.
- How do be build an organization to facilitate this size of labor pool?
- Where does the money come from?
- How do we get to the “tipping point”, so that this grows organically, and becomes “a given” on resumes
- How do we get this idea from this simple thesis, up to a business plan model that we can hit the road with to gather support?
- Who knows someone who is smart, and has time to work “for a cause” in order to take this idea to the next level?
- Who knows a Company looking for a cause to donate to as part of their “Mission Statement”
- Who knows wealthy people or philanthropic organizations who are looking for good causes to give to?
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS SO FAR. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO SHARE ANY THOUGHTS YOU HAVE SO THAT I MAY BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THEM TO HELP EXPAND OR REFINE MY IDEAS. DON’T BE SHY. THE ONLY BAD COMMENT IS THE ONE THAT IS THOUGHT, AND NOT WRITTEN…. THANKS.