How a TEDx Talk Is Changing the Face of Cancer Treatment Forever

 

Ireland, 12th Dec 2023, King NewsWireWhen you have faced battles in life, it’s easy to feel that there is no hope or way to move forward.

But if you are truly committed and decide to help others in the face of your struggles, you can not only overcome them; you can create a profound legacy that can change lives. 

And that is exactly what John Tarantino has done with his now-famous TEDx Talk, “Redemption Stories”.

John has had a long and illustrious career in the legal field and is recognized as one of the top attorneys in the US by Best Lawyers of America, Chambers USA, Benchmark, and Lawdragon.

Delivered at TEDx Providence earlier this year and posted on July 17, John’s TEDx talk has become one of the most watched in 2023 and has just hit a rare milestone: 20 million views on YouTube.

In the TEDx talk, we are introduced to two men: Ralph and John. One of the stories we are told involves John and his wife Pat and how their world changed forever when Pat was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer; a cancer that, tragically, has a 0% survival rate. 

Despite these circumstances, John and Pat chose to do something remarkable; use their experience to make a difference for others. They decided to sell their family home and donate every penny from the sale, plus Pat’s substantial life insurance policies, to cancer research.

At the end of the talk, John stunned the audience by revealing that he was the John in the story all along and that Pat was his beloved late wife. 

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the rarer cancers, and it is devastating. There’s a reason it is called the ‘silent killer’ – people usually don’t realize they have any symptoms until it is too late. With many other cancers, there are curative and management treatments available – I want to provide the same options to pancreatic cancer patients.”

Just months after it was first delivered, John’s TEDx talk has had an impact more profound than he could have imagined, and it is helping him take huge strides towards his long-term goal: making high-quality cancer care available for all. 

John is the CEO of Iylon Precision Oncology LLC, an organization at the cutting edge of precision oncology that uses analyses of genomic, pathology, laboratory, and radiology reports to provide treatment recommendations to oncologists that are individual to each cancer patient. 

Iylon is now working with the Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School and the Mani Lab, run by the great cancer researcher, Sendurai Mani, to find the biomarker for pancreatic cancer. 

“The progress we’ve made in the past 12 months is incredible. Not only have we published our first peer-reviewed paper, but we’re meeting with other groups to discuss how AI can superpower data analysis and individual skillsets to help cut research time from a decade to just under two years.”

And that’s not all.

Currently, precision oncology treatment in the United States is private-pay and is not covered by medical insurance companies – which means a huge percentage of the population cannot access it.

“There is a medical care wealth bias across our country – those with more money generally have access to a more robust healthcare system, more skilled and knowledgeable physicians, and better nutrition and treatment plans. We want to prove that everyone can have a better outcome using this pioneering treatment regardless of their background, so we can go back to the insurers and overcome their reasons not to cover this much-needed care.”

To that end, Iylon has established a not-for-profit subsidiary, Iylon Foundation, to secure funding to provide this treatment to those who can’t pay for it themselves.  

“Your prognosis should not be impacted by your economic means. We’ve secured $400,000 in grants to provide free precision oncology recommendations in Rhode Island to the treating oncologists of those who could not afford it otherwise – this is for the treatment of any kind of cancer. We have a goal of hitting $1 million in grants by the end of 2024 to try and help as many people as possible.”

Perhaps the best thing about John is his lack of competitiveness. He wants everyone to get access to great medical care. 

“Of course, it would be incredible if the work we do leads to discovering the cure for pancreatic cancer. But honestly, if I wake up one day to find out that someone else has got there first, I’ll still be thrilled. The most important thing is that it happens.”

The evolution of this work and the leaps being made have created new hope for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.

“The progress we’re making since the TEDx talk is geometric. We are so much further along than we were a year ago, and that is because the community is also taking up their swords in this battle. People are watching the talk and feeling less alone, and they’re being listened to and shown support like never before.”

With the combination of such a beautiful message of hope, determination, and belief, plus such a focused dedication to action, there is no end to the good that John Tarantino will continue to achieve.

“I have never felt so optimistic. I’m not afraid of cancer anymore. I know it can be beaten. And I will spend the rest of my days on earth pushing for better treatment access for all. One day we will cure cancer – I hope I live to see it, but if I don’t, I want to be able to look back and know I did everything I could to give people a better chance in Pat’s honor.”

John will be speaking at the TEDx Providence conference once again in 2024 and this time will be talking about how hiding our talents is a disservice not just to ourselves, but to everyone. If we maximize our talents and share them, we can change the world and help people in ways we could never believe possible. 

You can watch John’s inspirational TEDx Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poRyLHqvgrY

If you are interested in finding out more about Iylon Foundation or would like to speak with John about future speaking opportunities around topics including leadership, motivation, healthcare, and cutting-edge cancer treatments, you can contact him at john@iylon.com

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