BCAN’s growth as the voice of the bladder cancer community is the result of the support and commitment of thousands of advocates—patients and their families, donors, physicians, researchers and other medical professionals. One doctor played an instrumental role in BCAN’s creation. When my husband John and I had the idea to start a bladder cancer patient advocacy organization in May 2005, the first person we contacted was Dr. Mark Schoenberg, the bladder cancer specialist who was treating my husband at Johns Hopkins. Mark’s first response after hearing our idea was “you must do this and I will help you.” Within only a couple of weeks, Mark pulled together a meeting of bladder cancer specialists from across the country who committed to join BCAN’s Scientific Advisory Board, and we were on our way.
Mark served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, providing us with strong leadership in the bladder cancer community, and helping raise the profile of the disease with the general public as well as with the medical community. The Bladder Cancer Think Tank—now the flagship of BCAN’s commitment to advance bladder cancer research—was the brainchild of Mark Schoenberg. He started the Think Tank in 2006 to challenge the medical community to “think outside the box” and collaborate in new ways to find better treatments for bladder cancer. Mark understood the importance of involving patients and advocates in this discussion, and began the tradition of not only inviting patients to the Think Tank, but allocating time in the meeting for their personal stories to be heard. Over the past 9 years, Mark has continued to be a valued advisor and friend to all of us at BCAN, and an excellent and compassionate doctor to all those who have come under his care.
After 20 years at Johns Hopkins Medicine, where he served as the Bernard L. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Urology and director of urologic oncology, Mark Schoenberg is assuming a new position this month as Professor and University Chair of the Department of Urology at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. I know that everyone in the BCAN community joins me in wishing Mark the best as he takes on this new leadership role with new challenges and responsibilities. We look forward to his continued involvement with the BCAN community.