Adjust, Readjust and Hope

Jan 8, 2021 | Childhood Cancer, Dean's Reflections, Rally Blog, Research | 0 comments

By: Dean Crowe, Founder & CEO

Last year, when COVID-19 hit, I thought about our Rally families and how they handle everything that is thrown at them—which is a lot. Over and over, I have watched them adjust and readjust.

Trying to learn from the best, I drew inspiration from these brave people in 2020. “Adjust and readjust” became my personal mantra and Rally’s theme for the year.

Adjust and readjust we did. I have to be honest; it is a good game plan. It served Rally exceptionally well, as I shared in my year-end letter.

Personally, the mantra served me well, too—especially on Christmas Eve.

For as long as I can remember, Reid and I have hosted a large Christmas Eve dinner at our home. It is a tradition that our family and friends look forward to each year.

We typically kick off the festivities when the Rohrbachs—whose daughter, Alexa, was the second Rally Kid—stop by for a glass of Christmas cheer on their way to see Robin’s parents. From there, the house fills with family and friends who stay for a drink, dinner or dessert.

We knew we would have to adjust to new traditions in 2020.

My mom had major surgery last May, and it was long six-month recovery. The past two Christmases, she has ended up hospitalized with pneumonia. My goal was to keep her out of the hospital this year, especially in light of COVID-19.

So, we adjusted our plans. Christmas Eve would be very small. Just immediate family.

Reid and I decorated the house, put up the tree, set the table, baked pies, wrapped presents, made the salad and picked up the lasagna. We were all set—then it rained all day on Christmas Eve.

The temperature dropped, the wind picked up and it started to snow. In Atlanta! Not exactly the weather forecast you want when trying to keep your mom out of the hospital.

So, at 5:30 PM, we adjusted again. Or should I say readjusted? We packed everything up—food, dishes and presents—and moved Christmas Eve to my parents’ condo. Yes, I was a little sad, but we were all together and that was what mattered most.

In 2021, I honestly believe the theme for myself and Rally will continue to be “adjust and readjust”. And while we will do those things, I am adding the word “hope” too.

I wish I could say I am stunned by the rate at which COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, but I am not. When the chips are down, America comes through. It’s just who we are.

I hope that the innovation and speed at which the government, NIH, drug companies and FDA moved to develop, test and bring to market a vaccine will set the pace for drug development for other diseases.

And, of course, pediatric cancers are at the top of my list.

While 2020 was very hard, I think it is possible that the government, NIH, drug companies and FDA took their cues from childhood cancer families like our Rally families. They adjusted and readjusted.

We don’t have just one or two, or even three, but four pharmaceutical companies producing COVID-19 vaccines. Two are already FDA approved for use in the U.S., and it looks like the other two will be approved in the first quarter of this year—if not the first month.

Let that sink in. This time last year, COVID-19 wasn’t even on our radar, and now we have two approved vaccines with two more on the way.

The two approved vaccines are using messenger RNA technology—a technology Rally has been investing in for years.

It’s time to adjust the current system.

I hope the creation of four COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year will be the precedent for quicker drug development and regulatory approval in the U.S. so we can get life-saving drugs to people fighting deadly diseases.

And I hope this will give kids fighting cancer a future where, one day, they will be hosting Christmas Eve dinners for family and friends.

Welcome to 2021. Adjust, readjust and hope.


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