Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently gave Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center the freedom to continue to fight cancer with a $35 million donation.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, one of the hardest things for victims and their families to deal with is uncertainty. And with federal budget cuts looming researchers are concerned about funding for health science.
"There is some uncertainty in the NIH budget. There have been proposed cuts to the NIH budget, and this comes in the wake of incredible bipartisan support for the NIH, which is our primary source of funding," said Dr. Gary Gilliland, president and director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
This is the single largest philanthropic commitment to Fred Hutch in the center’s 41-year history. Gilliland says the money donated will go to research on targeted cancer treatment, data science, and cancers caused by viruses.
He says Fred Hutch is the epicenter of cancer biology and treatment across the country. Gilliland believes we are a decade away from a cure for most cancers, but getting there will be expensive, making the recent Bezos family donation more important than ever.
"If we espouse American lives in a need to care about the one in three people who will develop cancer in their lifetime, we need to care about the 600,000 people that are going to die from cancer this year alone," said Gilliland.
This is the second time the Bezos family donated to save lives. A $20 million donation several years ago helped in the development of CAR T-cell therapy, the ability to reprogram cells that can seek and destroy cancer.
Using the $35 million recently donated by the Bezos family, Gilliland believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel in fighting cancer.
"There has never been a more important time for philanthropy, because they are supporting things that will make a difference in patients’ lives," said Gilliland.