On May 31st, we were proud to be a part of the American Cancer Society Blossom Ball. Raising over $150,000 for charity, the annual event had an incredible turnout. The event was presented by OncoSec and was the first time we announced Cancer Positive to the public.
Cancer Positive founder and OncoSec CEO, Punit Dhillon, gave the keynote address, in which he speaks to the need of more involvement from the business community, when it comes to treating cancer. Here is Mr. Dhillon’s speech in full*:
Good evening everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the night so far. What an amazing setting here at Southridge Estate!
As CEOs and business leaders, we are in the unique position of having the resources and wherewithal to make a real impact in this world. This can be a huge responsibility – but I believe that we have a moral obligation to do more outside the scope of our businesses, and act as genuine sources of positive change. Events like tonight’s Blossom Ball prove that I do not stand alone in this belief… and my friends at the American Cancer Society and subsidiary groups like CEO’s Against Cancer – continue to demonstrate that – while this can certainly be a demanding path to tread, the positive impact we can have on individuals, communities, societies, and even the world – make it well worth the walk
Cancer is everyone’s business; whether we want it to be or not.
CEO’s Against Cancer acts as an arm of the American Cancer Society – working alongside the ACS and leveraging our collective resources to spur fundraising, spread knowledge, and provide impactful guidance to businesses, employees and their surrounding communities. These goals are further exemplified by initiatives like the American Cancer Society’s Work Place Solutions, which creates cancer prevention and community involvement programs for independent businesses. Through partnerships and collaborations like these, the American Cancer Society continues to bring together top business executives, managers, and employees to promote cancer education, drive community involvement, and help finish the fight against this disease.
Every story has a silver lining…
Thanks to the efforts of organizations like the ACS, cancer is no longer a death sentence. Innovative therapies like those being advanced by the OncoSec team are changing the cancer landscape – and it is becoming more and more apparent that we are living through a watershed moment in cancer therapy, especially in the field of immunotherapy – where new technologies are enabling us to harness the power of the immune system to actively seek out and destroy cancer cells. With immunotherapy we are finally hopeful of moving along that spectrum from response to cure…Unfortunately, even the word cancer can evoke feelings of hopelessness and despair.
During this pivotal moment, we need to change the conversation around cancer, and focus on the momentum that is building in the treatment realm. With this in mind, I have personally launched a new initiative, Cancer Positive – which aims to support all those who have been touched by the disease – by shining a spotlight on inspiring and uplifting stories, and connecting people with progressive organizations and sources of active advocacy. I want to communicate to people the power of positivity in coping with cancer as a patient, caregiver, loved one or friend, and create a platform that highlights uplifting stories, and allows people to share with others their own experiences. Every story has a silver lining – and through the Cancer Positive campaign, we aim to help people find it.
I look out at all of you here tonight and I think – it takes a truly powerful force to bring us all together for this wonderful occasion. What is it that drives us to travel from all over to attend and participate in events like tonight, and continually dedicate our time and resources to the causes we care most about. As a husband and father, the answer is right in front of me: empathy. This trait that makes us uniquely human, is the same quality that drives us to create a better world so that everyone may enjoy the indescribable beauty of life. We are all here tonight so that one day, we can call the world cancer-free. We are here to show that a well-funded collaborative effort can create positive change – and to ensure that the money donated tonight will go on to fund life-saving and innovative research into new targeted therapies. We are here because we are all committed to finishing the fight, and personally seeing to it that the world of the future – is one without cancer; and consequently – a world with more birthdays.
Before I go… I really want to thank my uncle & aunt, Avtar and Diljit, for making this magnificent event possible – Avtar as many of you know is the chairman of OncoSec and has supported me in the over 14 years we have worked together in the life sciences industry including launching OncoSec – and it’s very humbling to list his contributions in healthcare and specifically the field of oncology over the years and I know he will never speak up about his accomplishments, but I’m truly lucky to have not only a mentor and guiding hand in business but an inspiring uncle – so thank you for everything you do and your continued help in building OncoSec into the premier oncology company it is today. We genuinely appreciate both of you, amidst your hectic life, for continuing to graciously welcome us all to your beautiful estate and be such generous hosts of the Annual American Cancer Society Blossom Ball!
Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the night.
*Please note, some portions of Punit’s speech may be paraphrased