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Margaret Laws, returning as a 2020 Astellas Oncology C3 Prize judge, spoke with cancer activist Bill Rancic to discuss the ideas the C3 Prize is seeking to fuel. The Astellas Oncology C3 Prize is accepting applications at until September 28, 2020 for the next great idea beyond medicine that can bring solutions to everyday challenges facing the cancer community.

Cancer care has always been complex, but during the coronavirus pandemic, journeys to diagnosis, care and recovery have grown even more complicated — particularly for those who do not have equal access to health care. When Margaret Laws, CEO of Hopelab, volunteered to return as a judge for the Astellas Oncology C3 (Changing Cancer Care) Prize, she hoped that this year’s applicants would reflect on the challenges of 2020 to fuel new ideas — particularly ideas that can help address health disparities.

The C3 Prize is a global challenge that funds innovative ideas that tackle everyday challenges facing people impacted by cancer. Open for submissions through September 28, the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize, is seeking ideas beyond medicine that have the potential to make an impact on cancer care. As the CEO of Hopelab, a social innovation lab that creates behavior-change tech to help teens and young adults live happier, healthier lives, Laws is constantly looking for innovative solutions to solve unmet needs.

“Cancer hits black, indigenous, and people of color populations disproportionately. These groups experience disproportionate rates of cancer and disproportionate rates of death,” said Laws. “One of the things I’m hoping for the 2020 Astellas Oncology C3 Prize is that we really see and support innovations that can help underserved communities.”

In addition to seeking ideas that address health disparities impacting cancer patients, the C3 Prize is looking for ideas that can help ease the increased burden of the Covid-19 pandemic on people impacted by cancer. The Covid-19 pandemic has only added to the complexity of cancer care, creating additional emotional, financial and physical strain for people impacted by cancer and their loved ones.

Now in its fifth year, the C3 Prize will award $200,000 in grants and resources to advance the most impactful ideas that embody the Astellas Oncology central mission: to make every day better for people impacted by cancer. Past winning ideas have addressed many different challenges of the cancer journey, from a video game designed to keep pediatric patients active and informed, to a specialized childcare network that provides stability and normalcy for families, to a first of its kind and easy-to-understand digital audio series about cancer. The commonality among all winners is their potential to address challenges faced by people living with cancer, their caregivers and their loved ones.

Laws emphasizes that no idea is too simple. “These don’t have to be complex technological ideas. Some of them will be. But others are much more about connecting people with cancer and their family members and loved ones with the resources they need to make it through this really challenging journey,” Laws said.

One of Laws’ favorite aspect of an acting C3 Prize judge is seeing people present their ideas, especially those with entrepreneurial backgrounds. Laws recalled 2019 Innovation Prize winner Daniella Koren, founder of Arches Technology, and her idea to expand her company’s patient education and engagement program called MyCareCompass. MyCareCompass is a digital education tool that provides relevant information and evidence-based education to people impacted by cancer throughout their treatment journey. “MyCareCompass helped prepare people to be able to go through their journey as effectively as possible,” said Laws.

“If you’re innovating or doing something entrepreneurial, doing something in this space, I encourage you to join the movement,” urged Laws. “We’re really excited for people to bring their ideas, bring themselves, and bring the passion that they feel for improving cancer care to this movement.”

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 are open now and will be accepted through September 28, 2020 on