Mary Robinson to chair LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit


The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) has announced that Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will serve as Honorary Chairperson of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit.

The Summit, to be held in Dublin, Ireland August 24-26, 2009, is the landmark event of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, an initiative to address the burden of cancer worldwide. The Summit will bring together world leaders, non-governmental organizations, corporate leaders and individuals who are making new commitments to cancer control.

“I have always viewed healthcare as a fundamental issue of human rights. It is estimated that about one-third of cancers can be cured if detected and treated early,” said Robinson. “It is up to all of us — governments, non-governmental organizations, cancer survivors, all concerned individuals — to see that detection and treatment are offered to as much of the world’s population as possible. Through the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit we will make great strides towards making this a reality.”

Lance Armstrong Foundation President and CEO Doug Ulman said, “Mary Robinson embodies the LIVESTRONG spirit of selfless service and leadership for the sake of positive change in our world. She has been a tireless advocate for issues at the intersection of health and human rights throughout her career — and we share the view that cancer control is at its core an issue of human rights.”

The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit will make the case for urgent action to address the global cancer burden and introduce new commitments for cancer control by bringing together world leaders, corporations, non-governmental organizations and advocates in an unprecedented show of solidarity. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa and former U.S. President Bill Clinton are included in the list of leaders expressing support for the Campaign and Summit, along with the Irish government and the Irish Cancer Society. The LAF is also in ongoing conversations with the Kingdom of Jordan and representatives of other nations about substantial new commitments.

Commitments are critical to avoid a looming public health catastrophe. Cancer kills more people every year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. It is estimated that cancer will be the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010. However, many governments devote few resources to fighting cancer and collect little information about its causes and effects. The LAF is working with world leaders to focus on developing international partnerships, cancer advocacy, research and data collection.

“In 2010, cancer will be the leading cause of death worldwide. The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit is 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. This is not just a job for governments and medical researchers — it’s everyone’s job,” Ulman said.

The secondary purpose of the Summit is to build a global grassroots advocacy movement to influence global action in the fight against cancer. Participation in the Summit is by invitation only. LAF has outlined a commitment process that all world leaders and representatives from non-governmental organizations and corporations are required to complete to be eligible for invitation.