Andy Schmeltz of Pfizer honours the more than fifty SPARC awardees around the world who are "sparking" change for all people living with metastatic breast cancer, no matter who they are or where they live.
There is much progress to recognize in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) thanks to significant strides in research, treatment and patient support over the past 30 years. However, there is always more work to be done when it comes to supporting those living with cancer. People living with MBC continue to face significant challenges, especially those from mid- and low-income parts of the world, who are most often diagnosed at a more advanced stage of the disease. Every person with breast cancer, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, deserves access to the support and information they need.
To address these unacceptable disparities, Pfizer joined forces in 2015 with our long-standing partner, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), to launch the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) MBC Challenge. Our objective was to support new ideas and projects from advocacy groups, hospital networks and other not-for-profit organizations from around the world, all committed to addressing the specific needs of MBC patients wherever they live.
Since its launch seven years ago, the SPARC MBC Challenge has grown significantly, and more than $1.5 million in grants has enabled more than 50 organizations worldwide to overcome challenges in early detection, prevention and the availability of treatment and palliative care for breast cancer. Examples of the groundbreaking programs SPARC awardees have implemented across the globe include:
Big and small, national and local, from improving quality of life for individual patients to overcoming new challenges brought on by a global pandemic, SPARC awardees continue to make a tremendous impact on people living with breast cancer. I am so proud of this work, and the impact it has had on those living with mBC. Pfizer is committed to continuing our partnerships within the MBC community, and programs like the SPARC MBC Challenge serve as a blueprint for all of us, as we further our collaborative efforts to address and overcome gaps in metastatic breast cancer care and beyond.