I’m in Orlando, have been here for 5 days for the conference and will leave for home early tomorrow.  As always, it’s been an amazing experience.  I’ve learned so much and spent time with many great survivors/advocates.  I attended many presentations on cancer research.  Those with a pedometer found we walk 4-5 miles a day, the conference center is HUGE!

My press conference went well, whew!  Before the press conference I was in the press room…have never been in one before!  They asked me who my press officer was…I’d never heard of a press officer!  I think it was important that I was there, though.  The speeches by the other three in our forum were on government spending for health and cancer research, and they kept trying to say it wasn’t about money but people and giving hope to people.  So when I told my story after they spoke, it helped the press relate to the human element.  I only had to tell my survivor story, which I know well.  I did do a power point along with that showed pictures of my kids and all of the things I got to be there for…high school prom, first boyfriends, my daughter turning 21 etc.  I think that helped.

I got to have dinner last night with an amazing cancer researcher I met at my first conference and whom I have on a very high pedestal, Dr.Danny Welch.  He is devoted to research to learn how to make cancer not metastasize.  Only about 2% of research dollars go to that cause, which saddens me.  90% of cancer deaths are caused by metastasis.  If cancer didn’t metastasize, it would be a benign disease.  Only a few cancers, like brain cancer, can kill without metastasizing. He discovered a gene which creates a protein that prevents metastasis, which he named Kiss1, as he discovered it in Hershey Pennsylvania.  He is creating a drug related to that protein that I hope enters clinical trials soon. I’ve had so many people say appendix cancer must be an easy cancer to cure, just remove the appendix, which we don’t need anyway….but appendix cancer is so lethal not because of the appendix tumor, but because of the metastasis.

I’ll write more about the conference and attach photos when I get home!