The Anticancer Fund becomes a Public Utility Foundation
BRUSSELS - On the eve of its ten-year anniversary, the Anticancer Fund (ACF), an organization focused on developing affordable but effective treatment options for cancer patients, becomes a Public Utility Foundation.
Labyrinth of scams
Ten years ago, the sister of entrepreneur and ACF founder Luc Verelst was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Verelst went looking for information about treatment options, but ended up in a labyrinth of fake stories, unreadable medical publications and outright scams. The whole process was frustrating and disheartening and he didn’t want other patients and families to struggle for access to reliable information on their treatment options. Verelst's sister was cured and he started the non-profit organization The Anticancer Fund. "I wanted cancer patients to be able to make decisions about treatment options themselves, based on accessible, independent, well-documented and understandable information. For me, health is the most important thing in which one should invest," he explains.
Lydie Meheus, who worked more than 20 years in research and development in the pharmaceutical field, became the head of a team of scientists. They had two goals: sharing information about reliable cancer treatments and investing in new treatment options to cure cancer. For their research, the scientists focus on cancer treatments that are of little or no interest to the commercial pharmaceutical industry. The team continuously monitors the results of these treatments in patients, explores the possibilities of using existing non-cancer medications as cancer treatments and consults scientific publications to find answers to questions coming from cancer patients.
Public Utility Foundation
Now, almost ten years after its creation, the Anticancer Fund wants to move a step further. Thanks to the recognition as a Public Utility Foundation, the ACF wants to focus even more on the ultimate goal of philanthropy: to have social impact. To become a Public Utility Foundation in Belgium, an organization must demonstrate that the assets are used to achieve a well-defined altruistic goal. This has been the mission since the foundation of the ACF: the patient has been at the forefront from day one. Thanks to this new status, the Anticancer Fund hopes to pursue its mission even more effectively: improving outcomes that matter most to patients.
Still a long way to go
"After ten years we have just started", says CEO Meheus. "We have already realized some good things, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With the statute of Public Utility Foundation, we hope to gain a little more recognition from people who want to support us, so that we can help even more patients in the future. In fact, I recently experienced myself how important the Anticancer Fund is." Meheus found out a few weeks ago that she herself has breast cancer. "I was lucky enough to be able to rely on a fantastic clinical oncology team. Nevertheless, I was confronted with feelings of uncertainty and I had several questions. My colleagues at the Anticancer Fund immediately took action and I was relieved that there was consensus with the oncology team on the best way to treat my specific condition. The fact that a whole team of specialized scientists was thinking along with me and helped me look for the best options, made me very comfortable. I felt involved, understood and have started my treatment with no more doubts. I would wish every patient with questions to have the same opportunities and I am more than ever convinced of the importance of our Anticancer Fund."