One Year After the Launch of The Baton Pass™: Understanding the Emperor of All Maladies

Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:00 am EDT



Dr. Gregory Sorensen, MD, President & CEO, Siemens Healthcare North America

One year ago today, Siemens employees joined the eager crowd gathered in Times Square, New York City to kick off a partnership with Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) that launched The Baton Pass™, a grassroots campaign in support of innovative cancer research. 

After an introduction on Good Morning America that described the six-month campaign as “a relay race unlike any other that will benefit cancer patients, cancer survivors and future cancer survivors everywhere,” Siemens employees hit the ground running to initiate the campaign.  They enthusiastically passed the Baton, a symbol of hope, and with each pass, Siemens pledged to donate $1 for cancer research.



Throughout the campaign, the Baton touched the hands of many.  It traveled the nation, coast to coast, visiting hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, healthcare conferences, public events, and more — and was passed by patients, survivors, family members, doctors, scientists, healthcare providers, and advocates, uniting us all in the fight against cancer.





A united community formed online, primarily through The Baton Pass™ Facebook page, which accumulated 83,000 followers, spreading hope and driving support.

For every Baton pass, physically or virtually through ‘likes’, shares and comments, Siemens donated $1 to SU2C®, eventually reaching the goal of $1 million by September 5, 2014 to help bring new therapies to patients quickly.

As a society, we’ve come so far in medicine, and we know the importance of investment and continued research to help win the race in the fight against cancer.

Thanks to medical imaging and laboratory diagnostics – the kind of technologies that help healthcare providers better diagnose, treat, and monitor patients – there are better outcomes today than ever before. 

But even with hope, advanced science, and awareness-building initiatives, the truth is that cancer is still mysterious and feared.  There’s a strong desire to better understand cancer’s origins, to learn about the journey our predecessors made enabling discovery of today’s treatments, and to help patients feel more involved and empowered in their treatment decisions. 

To this end, Siemens is proud to sponsor Ken Burns’ six hour PBS documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, A Film by Barak Goodman.”  The documentary is based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s Pulitzer Prize winning bookThe Emperor of All Maladies:A Biography of Cancer.

So today, on the one year anniversary of The Baton Pass™, I’m not only proud to look back on how we’ve helped create a united, hopeful community while supporting innovative cancer research, but also inspired to see how much progress we’ve made in the field of medicine, in particular during the past 120 years since in the invention of X-ray.

Tomorrow, I will be viewing a flagship screening of the documentary in Washington, DC, followed by a New York City screening on March 24th. I look forward to joining SU2C®, and other sponsors, in exploring the story of the enigmatic disease, its past and the history of treating it so we can continue to learn from it.

You can watch a preview of the incredible story here.  And of course, tune in to PBS on March 30th, 31st and April 1st to watch the three-part premiere, following the journey of a disease that affects so many.