Sixteen years after ACM Group launched their holistic lifestyle Advanced Cancer Management programs in Sydney and Perth, one of Australia’s most innovative cancer organisations has now gained a foothold in the USA funding circuit.
Original founders Dr Christine O’Neill, Lou James and Tim Hartigan remain both on the board and active employees of the foundation, which has now found support from the American Cancer Foundation and a number of prestige USA hospitals and medical colleges.
The USA initiative follows a protracted and now aborted attempt to establish a London base which was dis-endorsed in mid-2015 by an influential bloc of European medical institutes.
“We’re hoping that turns out to be a blessing in disguise,” Dr Christine O’Neill told Cancer News via phone from San Francisco where the group of directors had earlier met with sponsors and investors.
“There are many wonderful doctors and oncologists in the United Kingdom who support our programs, but in the end the medical establishment there was a little bit hesitant, dare I say conservative, which we’re discovering is the opposite here in the US,” Dr O’Neill said.
Struggling for four years to gain acceptance and endorsement in the United Kingdom almost sent ACM Group bankrupt, but some major American medical philanthropists heard about the project and have lent both monetary and spiritual support.
“Crowdfunding was potentially risky for our brand but it did trigger a word-of-mouth dynamic which led us to Max Silverstein and Angelique Byrne who have stood by us from day one.”
Day one in the USA was June 3rd 2015 when the Anti-Cancer & Longevity Expo in Boston became a rallying point for progressive medical professionals advocating for entrepreneurial foundation creation in the leukaemia and mesothelioma arenas.
“The gulf between pop culture pseudo-scientific claims and established medical practices remains as wide as ever, and the public continues to suffer as a result,” Dr O’Neill added.
“Scientific research needs to better elucidate its insights and occasional breakthroughs to both sides of the anti-cancer spectrum – even more than that, it should be a bulwark against ignorance on both sides.”
“Strength of voice from science will hopefully be an outcome of our communications initiatives.”
“We still have people dying prematurely from bowel cancer because they refuse chemotherapy, and yet chemotherapy continues to only save around 2 percent of patients.”
Dr O’Neill’s co-director Tim Hartigan was motivated to start the ACM Group in the year 2000 when his partner passed away from prostate cancer, and he felt that the advanced stages of cancer were not cared for particularly well by busy doctors whose focus always seemed to be on the next person they were due to see.
The concept of advanced cancer management was hatched as a defining model which sought to incorporate spiritual aspects, emotional wellbeing, inner peace, love and kindness, as well as the most cutting edge scientific and holistic treatment options.
“Survival rates are still very low across all cancers, but there’s no question that some things happen which can be categorised as beyond the realms of scientific explanation,” Dr O’Neill said.
“I wouldn’t use the words miraculous or miracle,” but we continue to keenly study and analyse the mental and spiritual states of cancer patients for an opening which may gain us mortal humans an advantage over our own predispositions towards mortality.”