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Luminaries' Survivor Manifesto

Writing the Next Chapter in Survivor Care

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In 2021, my husband and I founded Luminaries, a cancer survivorship non-profit. We both felt we were in a fascinating time in healthcare as there has been extraordinary progress in technology and therapeutics to fight cancer and folks are living with and beyond cancer are growing rapidly. The global awareness of the growing cancer survivor population is a result of extraordinary medical advancements. Yet, the challenges faced by survivors are often frequently overlooked or unaddressed.  Luminaries was created to bridge this gap.

The Next Chapter in Survivorship Care

Survivorship is entering a unique phase with over 11 million survivors in the U.S., expected to reach 22 million by 2030. Co-founder, Laura Hendricks, survived aggressive blood cancer, enduring treatments that reshaped her life, employment, and family dynamics.

Post-treatment, the expected elation of survivorship gave way to new challenges. Despite advancements in cancer research and treatment,  cancer survivors face a myriad of physical and mental health issues, and medical costs keep escalating.

This is a Unique Moment in Cancer Survivorship Care

Comprehensive Cancer Centers excel in treatment but lack a mandate for survivorship programs. The "Cancer Moonshot" revamped by President Biden in 2022, emphasizes progress in treatment but just touches on the growing survivor population.  Cancer survivors are more likely than the general population to suffer from: heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and distress, PTSD, and even suicide. Medical costs associated with survivorship are expected to be $183 billion in 2025, and are projected to increase 34% to $246 billion by 2030.

As survivorship increases, a strain on the cancer care system emerges. For example, the risk of dying from breast cancer has fallen dramatically since the 1990s, when the risk of dying within 5 years was at 14 percent, today that number has dropped to only 5 percent on average. Additionally, projected is a 40% increase in demand for oncology services by 2025, thus addressing the Survivorship Gap is crucial.  An Increase in survival rates and demand for oncology services gives a clearer picture starts to form on why scalable survivorship care and programs across hospital systems isn’t just a nice-to-have: it’s now a necessity.

What Luminaries is Doing: A Call to Action

 

That fact is, the survivorship experience Laura thought she would have was an illusion. Don't confuse this with not being grateful, as she feels blessed and fortunate to be part of this growing survivorship club. However, survivorship brought on a whole litany of new challenges of life after illness. She eventually came to realization that listening to her body and by focusing on her own innate abilities, she could become more resilient - step by step and not chase quick fixes. Luminaries' call to action involves innovative, patient-centered models for scalable survivorship care. We aim to fill the gap by providing ownable, analog tools supported by digital platforms, focusing on physical and mental health through 60-day action plans to help survivors get back on their feet. 

Our approach involves delivering self-care solutions to survivors' doorsteps, Luminaries experienced a 117% increase of kits delivered from 2022 to 2023 and we strive to create a world-class, accessible, and convenient experience for survivors nationwide. These solutions fit into any stage of survivorship someone is going through and grounded in building healthy habits and a more resilient mindset. Luminaries gives survivors tools respond to challenges, leading to healthier behaviors that help unlock greater wellbeing after diagnosis. 

Two years into our journey, we celebrate progress but acknowledge the shifting landscape in healthcare, and urgent action is imperative; otherwise, both patients and the system will bear the burden. Luminaries is committed to becoming the leading non-profit in scaling wellness programs for every cancer survivor.  A model that breaks the mold and reduces inequalities and enhances accessibility to survivorship care — crafted in collaboration with survivors, for survivors.

 

If this is a vision that excites you, please reach out. Together, we can ensure that cancer survivors receive the support they need for a healthier future.

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