Audrey Guth, Astellas Oncology C3 Prize 2019 Grand Prize winner, sat down with cancer activist Bill Rancic to share her story. The C3 Prize is now accepting applications at www.C3Prize.com for the next great idea to change cancer care.
In the moments before inspiration struck Audrey Guth in 2009, she was a breast cancer patient waiting in a doctor’s office in Toronto. There, she watched as a young girl climbed up and down her mom’s lap, and she felt the weight of what that mom, and cancer patient, was going through: caring for a child while also managing treatments and the emotional demand of her cancer journey.
“When her daughter reached up and pulled the scarf off her bald head, the tears started rolling down her face. It was as if my ‘mom mode’ kicked in, ‘I can fix this. I take care of everyone.’” The Nanny Angel Network, which delivers free, specialized childcare for mothers with cancer, was created from this moment and went on to win the 2019 Grand Prize of the Astellas Oncology C3 (Changing Cancer Care) Prize. The C3 Prize is a global challenge that funds innovative ideas that can help improve everyday challenges facing people impacted by cancer. The C3 Prize is accepting applications at www.C3Prize.com.
Cancer is complex for everyone involved, and it can be especially difficult for parents with young children, and particularly single parents. Without reliable childcare to depend on, some parents may be forced with the difficult decision to postpone their treatments. Guth thought about the young woman from the waiting room and realized that her oncologist and nurses must see so many challenging situations outside of the scope of medicine that make it difficult for people to get the treatment they need.
Since establishing the Nanny Angel Network in 2009, the program has offered families childcare services that provide peace of mind, stability and normalcy. In addition, the organization’s nannies provide children with the tools they need to cope with their mothers’ illness.
While Guth’s idea is unique, her experience of seeing the challenges of the cancer care journey firsthand was not. Oftentimes, those most impacted — people living with cancer and their caregivers — must navigate cancer care without the support they need. Overcoming those challenges personally can spark ideas to ease the journey for others impacted by cancer. Those are the types of ideas the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize seeks to fuel.
With the $100,000 in grants and resources Guth received from the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize, Nanny Angel Network built infrastructure for learning management, which has been even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Families facing cancer need support more than ever, and the grant has enabled Nanny Angel Network to offer remote child life specialists, hundreds of meal deliveries, a virtual homework club and “camp in a box.”
“Winning the 2019 Astellas Oncology C3 Prize has made such an impact on our ability to change the world for so many children who have endured a cancer diagnosis of a parent,” Guth stated. “We’ve been able to do that, not only through the funding that we received, but through resources that are available and the exposure that you get from winning such a prestigious award.”
Now in its fifth year, the C3 Prize awards $200,000 in grants and resources to advance ideas beyond medicine that bring solutions to everyday challenges facing people impacted by cancer. This includes ideas that can ease the increased burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients, as well as address health disparities impacting cancer patients in economically challenged communities. The C3 Prize is open to anyone with a great idea to change cancer care, and all are encouraged to apply.
“Share your idea, express the impact that you’re having on the cancer community, whether it’s for individual patients, caregivers, families or children impacted by cancer, because that’s what Astellas Oncology and the C3 Prize is looking for,” Guth said.
Past winners include people who have lived with cancer, caregivers, healthcare providers, patient advocates, entrepreneurs and more. This year, the C3 Prize is continuing to look for the most impactful ideas to change cancer care. Along with tools and resources to help advance the winner’s ideas, Astellas Oncology will award the Grand Prize winner $100,000 in grants, and the two Innovation Prize winners $50,000 in grants each. Entries will be accepted through September 28, 2020 on www.C3Prize.com.