Debuting September 19!

“I am opposed to heart disease and cancer the way one is opposed to sin.” With that as her battle cry, health activist and philanthropist, Mary Woodard Lasker, had a singular goal: saving lives by increasing medical research. Together with her husband, advertising genius Albert, they created the Lasker Foundation, bestowing the Lasker Awards, the most prestigious research awards in America.

Next, the Laskers transformed the sleepy and ineffectual American Society for the Control of Cancer, reimagining it as the American Cancer Society and overseeing a dramatic rise in its donations for the study of cancer. 

But the real increase in medical research occurred when Mary discovered a revolutionary funding source: the federal government. “I’m just a catalytic agent,” she would insist. Yet juxtaposed against her fabulous homes, jaw-dropping jewels, and museum-worthy art collection, Mary’s tireless lobbying before Congress and presidents alike expanded the National Institutes of Health from a single entity to the largest research facility in the world. A feminist who used her femininity wisely, her ultimate victory was bringing together two political adversaries to launch the original cancer moonshot: the 1971 National Cancer Act. Those research dollars turned the tide on survivorship of the disease. 

This engaging and deeply researched biography paints the portrait of a woman who was savvy, steely, and deliberate. Mary Lasker courageously positioned herself at the crossroads of politics, science and medicine, leading the country’s march to conquer humanity’s most feared maladies.

On December 23, 1971, a beleaguered President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer by signing the National Cancer Act. Research ignited, and the world’s most feared disease was suddenly survivable. Yet millions with a cancer history remained in the shadows: shunned, discriminated against, forgotten.

A group of 23 men and women – all with a personal connection to cancer –  came together in 1986 for a weekend summit with one goal: not to cure the disease, but to destroy its myths. The creation of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) that weekend changed everything for American cancer survivors. Their lesson still rings true: in order to improve the future, we must learn from the past.

From this grassroots beginnings, the determination of the NCCS founders and the growing numbers of supporters brought their cause into sharp national focus. They succeeded in banning discrimination, ushered in survivor healthcare reform, and provided researchers with invaluable knowledge about long-term treatment impacts.

A 2022 NAUTILUS GOLD AWARD WINNER, From Shadows to Life: A Biography of the Cancer Survivorship Movement is part medical history, part inspirational biography. It is the story of a social movement that continues to improve life for millions around the world. 

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Meet Judy


Best-selling and award winning author Judy Pearson’s career began in a tree: a wonderful old maple in her parents’ backyard, with a perfect branch on which to sit and write. Now hundreds of thousands of words later, this Michigan native’s voice is still inspiring!


The room may be cold or hot. The day may be sunny or cloudy. The lunch may be soggy or stale. But the speaker is the cornerstone of an event – and Judy will ensure your event is a success!

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