Mary Lasker was the fairy godmother of medical research.
She was married to an advertising big shot named Albert Lasker. She bemused, “If a toothpaste . . . deserved advertising at the rate of two or three or four million dollars a year, then research against diseases maiming and crippling the people in the United States and in the rest of the world deserved hundreds of millions of dollars.”
She started the War on Cancer with Sidney Farber.
She also dared none other than Richard Fucking Nixon to cure cancer.
In an ad.
On December 9, 1969, President Nixon woke up to a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post that read:
Mr. Nixon: You can cure cancer.
If prayers are heard in Heaven, this prayer is heard the most:
“Dear God, please. Not cancer.”
Still, more than 318,000 Americans died of cancer last year.
This year, Mr. President, you have it in your power to begin to end this curse.
As you agonize over the Budget, we beg you to remember the agony of those 318,000 Americans. And their families.
We urge you to remember also that we spend more each day on military matters than each year on cancer research. And, last year, more than 21 times as much on space research as on cancer research. . . .
If you fail us, Mr. President, this will happen:
One in six Americans now alive, 34,000,000 people, will die of cancer unless new cures are found.
One in four Americans now alive, 51,000,000 people, will have cancer in the future.
We simply cannot afford this.
On December 23, 1971, he signed the National Cancer Act.
The War continues today.
This piece is dedicated to my friend Brian Druker. He’s the fairy godfather of medical research. He’s cancer’s cancer. He has won the Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. All this makes it fairly obvious to whom a portrait of Mary Lasker as a fairy godmother wearing a FUCK CANCER button should be dedicated, don’t you think?
2013 | Color Digital Print | Museo Silver Rag | 30" x 36" | Edition of 10