100 Warriors: One Small Step Towards Ending Cancer


Clarion photo Ian Legross

By Jennifer Singh, Reporter

The American Cancer Society is a national organization devoted to curing the disease that has estimated to be the cause of death for 595,690 people in 2016, and one of Cleveland’s own has already begun his road to change.

Malcolm Asher, sophomore, is an intern at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Doernbecher’s pediatric oncology unit. He volunteers multiple times a week for two to two and a half hour shifts and also works from home. His desire to become a doctor led him to become interested in volunteering at Doernbecher. His main focus around the hospital is assisting his boss Brittany Duffy-Goche, grassroots manager for the state of Oregon through the American Cancer Society Action Network.

“Malcolm works directly under me,” Duffy-Goche described. “He is tasked with supporting our work at the state and local level. This includes creating profiles on our elected officials in Oregon to help move our policies forward, working on materials for our Lobby day in March, and helping on other Tobacco 21 planning [a new bill to raise the legal age of tobacco].”

Malcolm also assists around the hospital with all the non-medical assignments such as paperwork. He loves how engaging and fast paced the hospital environment can be.

Over the summer he worked in all different units of the hospital and discovered his love for pediatric oncology. “I knew that I wanted to do more than just help out the patients there, so I looked at jobs in the field and got my internship at the American Cancer Society.”

Malcolm is well-known around the Doernbecher office and has plenty of work to do when he arrives for his shifts. He has responsibilities to set up different events around Portland to spread awareness, such as the Walk to End Breast Cancer or different community meetings. His organization and work to make these events possible creates better recognition surrounding their cause and events.

Spreading awareness about cancer is the organization’s biggest goal. “We have these big, big, big events that we do throughout every major city in America, and we also send out letters to legislators, and we have events at schools,” Malcolm describes to recognize their cause.

The American Cancer Society encourages all that are interested in making a difference to get involved in their fight to end cancer and to find out more information about what they do. You can get involved by contacting Portland’s American Cancer Society. Malcolm said, “It’s such a worthwhile experience. If you’re on edge about maybe doing it or not, even if you’re not so interested in what you’re volunteering in, it has so many beneficial elements of just the work you can do, so it’s definitely a worthwhile experience.”

Duffy-Goche also recognizes how important it is to get involved with programs like this. “I hope he [Malcolm] gains a better understanding of grassroots work and how it impacts state level policies,” she explained. “What I love about the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is we are creating laws that support patients and their families, because as we know, most decisions about our health are made outside of the doctor’s office and ACS CAN is the organization that makes sure that cancer is a top priority.”

Interacting with patients and hearing their stories is what makes all of Malcolm’s hard work worthwhile to him. He loves knowing that he’s “making a difference in their lives.” Malcolm has worked with the American Cancer society for only six months so far, but it has already changed his outlook on life and will open so many opportunities for him in the future.