The War & the Moon

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Iwo Jima Memorial Washington, DC – Memorial Weekend 2017

By Lynne Driscoll, Director – Intellectual Property, IBM

As an American, there is not much more moving than visiting our Nation’s Capitol on Memorial weekend.  This U.S. holiday is informally known as the ‘start of summer’, however it is formally known to honor those who have served in both life & death in the protection of our country, values and freedom.  The energy of the visiting crowds, food trucks, street vendors along with the monuments and their stories reminds us how fortunate we are as a society.  Speaking of fortune, we were provided a delightful, local private guide for an evening, moon-lit tour of the Capitol complete with historical insights unknown to many and sights unseen by our IBM Health Corps team.

Infused in our friendly banter among ourselves and our guide, we wandered through the monuments and through the topics of the political parties differences between our respective countries, the puzzling (to even us Americans) electoral college and just exactly how much could you pay for a home in the trendy Georgetown section of D.C.? (according to realtor.com….a LOT is what I would say).

And yet in this celebration of those who lost their lives and loved ones due to wars on soils near & far –  on behalf of the United States and our allies – it hit home. It’s clear that our small team, 7 of us from IBM, is fighting a war in itself.  The war called Cancer.  With many in support, we are building a tool that oncologists on the ‘front-lines’ in low-resource countries in Sub-Saharan African (far away soils from America) can use to effectively treat and battle one of nature’s most destructive forces in the human body that is more insidious than bombs, more prevalent than AK-47s, more underhanded than an IED.

As an example, cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death of African women.  Preventable with a vaccine, treatable if caught in time. And too many women are senselessly losing the struggle in this part of the world. Let’s stop the advancement of this cancer and the others we are working on.

This team is part of the Moonshot that our CEO declared on this disease. A century-old technology company, that has survived through 8+(?) times-of-war over our existence, seeking to eradicate an enemy.  This team will never get a monument raised in our honor. We aren’t seeking one. But it’s been my honor and pleasure, however small a contribution, to serve my country and my fellow human beings.  I am proud to be an IBMer.

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2 thoughts on “The War & the Moon

  1. Thank you for your inspiration and thanks to the Health Corps team for your time, innovation and contribution to producing solutions to help diminish cancer’s impact on our lives.

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  2. I was so pleased to read of how effectively you expressed the connection between your personal decision to endeavor on this work, your corporations ability and willingness to invest in the effort and the greater sense of service to your country and your fellow human. What you are doing sends many ripples across the waters of history… Thank you.

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