Dellann Elliott Mydland, founder and president of the Pacific Northwest–based Chris Elliott Fund travels widely, including to the nation’s capital, to advocate on behalf of brain tumor patients across the United States. Her goal is to ensure access for all cancer patients to emerging therapies and medical devices in the War on Cancer.
Many emerging therapies and medical device treatment options represent a new approach to treating solid tumors, yet they frequently fall outside standard reimbursement guidelines, effectively excluding certain groups of patients from access despite FDA approval.
“For cancers where there are few effective treatment options available, it is critical that all patients have access to any FDA-approved therapy or device which could potentially extend their life,” says Elliott Mydland. “It is especially important for brain tumor patients where survival is typically measured in months, not years. Although our focus is brain tumor patients, we see these therapies as potentially benefitting patients diagnosed with other cancers, particularly those whose prior treatments have failed. It is just so critical that we set the right precedent.”
Alongside her advocacy activities, Elliott Mydland also works to increase awareness of brain cancers, including the 2nd Annual Brains Matter Evening of Awareness, Connecting & Learning for women in the Seattle area. Elliott Mydland notes that women make up 80% of the calls into the Chris Eilliott Fund’s Patient Support Center, typically seeking help for a family member, often their husband and family breadwinner.
She also spearheaded the Patient and Caregiver Brain Tumor Support Symposium for brain tumor patients, families, and loved ones cohosted by the John Theurer Cancer, the Brain and Spine Institute, and the Chris Elliott Fund.
Other awareness initiatives include:
#Tunein2GBM, an awareness building and educational social media campaign for glioblastoma brain cancer. The campaign is sponsored by Novocure and benefits the Chris Elliott Fund, Livestrong, the Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information, and Cancer Support Centers. Glioblastoma is the most common and deadly form of brain cancer with 20,000 Americans diagnosed annually.
“Be a Friend” is CEF’s own unique radio campaign urging listeners to “Be a Friend” and help anyone they know stricken with brain cancer to immediately get the help and support they need; it involves a PSA playing on radio stations across the country over the next several months.