As anyone impacted by cancer knows, the best care requires more than just therapeutics — it requires a community. That includes advocates to support patients and caregivers; physicians and researchers to identify the best possible therapies; and equal access to quality care for anyone who seeks it.

Few better understand the challenges of building such a community than the finalists in this year’s Cancer Community Awards (or C2 Awards), which honor the people and organizations changing the lives of those affected by cancer. Now in their third year, the C2 Awards are a partnership between AstraZeneca and Scientific American Custom Media, and they are part of AstraZeneca’s wider YOUR Cancer initiative, which aims to convene, engage, and celebrate the full breadth and depth of the oncology community and all who make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.

This year’s 12 finalists were drawn from 114 nominations, across 28 states and the District of Columbia, which were submitted by experts from organizations involved in advocacy, healthcare, public health, policy, and research. There are five award categories: Catalyst for Change, Catalyst for Equity, Catalyst for Care, Catalyst for Precision Medicine, and the President’s Award. A panel of judges, all leaders in the cancer care community, reviewed and scored nominees for each category except the President’s Award, which was selected by AstraZeneca.

To meet the 2021 finalists for the Catalyst for Change, Equity, Care, and Precision Medicine Awards, watch the videos below. Also, stay tuned to learn more about the category winners, who will be announced at an awards celebration on October 19, 2021.

Extending Therapy’s Reach: Catalyst for Change

Finalists for the Catalyst for Change Award bring the highest quality of care to groups of patients that often go overlooked. Tomma Hargraves developed the Lung Cancer Initiative’s Access to Care Gas Card program that has helped patients travel more than 300,000 miles to their treatment. Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, of the West Virginia University Cancer Institute, works to reduce cancer in Appalachian communities through evidence-based early detection, outreach, and education. Stacie Lindsey founded the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation to provide education, connection, and support for families affected by this rare cancer.

Advancing Equitable Access to Care: Catalyst for Equity

Finalists for the Catalyst for Equity Award strive to overcome long-standing disparities in accessing preventive services and quality care. Beulah Brent, executive director of Sisters Working It Out, improves health equity for African American and Latina women in and around Chicago, Illinois. Equal Hope combats disparities in women’s health, especially reducing breast cancer deaths among Black women. Carmen Ortiz, the founder of the Círculo de Vida Cancer Support and Resource Center, works to provide psycho-oncology support for Spanish-speaking cancer patients and their families.

Treating Patients, Families and Caregivers: Catalyst for Care

These finalists make it easier to navigate the complex and, at times, taxing world of cancer care. Unite for HER funds and delivers integrative therapies to breast and ovarian cancer patients, helping them mitigate and ease side effects and symptoms during and after treatments. Andie McConnell created Fairy Godmother Project, a pediatric cancer organization that focuses on supporting caregivers. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Patient Services provides patients and caregivers with personalized, one-on-one support, including disease information, treatment options, clinical trials, and more.

Personalizing the Accuracy of Care: Catalyst for Precision Medicine

Precision medicine aims to match the right treatment to the right patient, based on understanding a cancer’s specific genetic and molecular characteristics. Colin Pritchard of the University of Washington and the Brotman Baty Institute helped develop molecular diagnostics for a variety of cancers, thereby leading to better targeted treatments for patients. Jonathan Simons guided the Prostate Cancer Foundation in supporting the development of advanced imaging and precision therapeutic agents that improve the treatment of prostate cancer. ​​Alana Welm, of the University of Utah, developed a method to grow patient-derived xenografts, in mice and in specialized cultures, which can be used to develop personalized treatments and identify those with a high risk of recurrence.

For more about the Cancer Community Awards, visit