By Gwen Darien
A Fond Farewell
By Gwen Darien
I almost always push up to the last minute on my editor’s letter deadlines, but this time it is even harder because this is a goodbye letter. Nearly four years after we launched CR, I have decided to step down as editor-in-chief to take a new position as the executive director of a cancer research foundation.
It has been a privilege to serve as editor of this magazine. As everyone on our team knows (and often pokes gentle fun at me), I say with each issue that is published, “This is the best issue yet.” I am proud of the way the magazine has evolved since our first issue in spring 2006. We consistently made progress toward our goal of sharing essential, evidence-based information on cancer research, advocacy and survivorship. And, the feedback that we’ve gotten from you, our readers, has reinforced the magazine’s uniqueness and impact. I’ll never forget the letter that we received from a cancer researcher following our publication of a tribute to a girl who had died in 2007 after being featured on our cover. She wrote: “Reading [CR] today, made me refocus my commitment to research. I cut out the article and pasted it in the top drawer of my desk, where I will see it every day.”
I am extremely proud of CR ’s articles and have learned an enormous amount from each piece of writing. The opportunity to be part of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)—the premier cancer research association in the world—has added immeasurably to our ability to provide education on cancer research. All of us who work on the magazine are deeply grateful for the support the AACR has given to this important endeavor and for its commitment to bridging the conversation between scientists and survivors.
Collaboration is a hallmark of CR. Everyone who works on the magazine is present in its words and pictures, and their deep personal commitment to CR is evident on every page. The editorial boards and people who have appeared in the magazine have been an ongoing source of inspiration. The joy and sense of accomplishment of this collaboration will be a deep loss to me.
During the past few years, I have learned much about surviving cancer through writing my editor’s letters. I have always thought of the editor’s letters as a conversation. And as part of my commitment to this work, I have often pushed my comfort level in talking about myself because the frankness has been a means to deepen a dialogue about the complex issues and challenges of survivorship. I knew that the level of honesty and directness that I strived for, sometimes at the cost of personal discomfort, was truly worthwhile when readers wrote back with sentiments such as, “It is comforting to know that someone else in the world has the same thoughts and feelings I’ve had when dealing with cancer.”
Though my participation in the dialogue and collaboration that distinguishes this magazine will change, I know that CR will continue to grow and fulfill its mission. I will be one of its most loyal readers, knowing that I will learn more with each and every issue. I hope that you will too.
(photo credit: Danny Wilcox Frazier)