Eileen Sweeney, Humankind Partnership
Laura Bray is a force of nature. A local Tampa mother of 3 and an Adjunct Professor of Business at Hillsborough Community College, Laura’s life changed 2 years ago when her daughter Abby, age 9, was diagnosed with a form of Pediatric Cancer. And while this would be enough to put any family in the throes of chaos amid doctor’s visits, chemo treatments and every day life, Laura and her family learned that the life-saving drug Abby needed to complete her protocol was in shortage. Abby would not get the drug that was the last piece in her treatment and without which she would not have the greatest chance of survival. Laura, was in disbelief, but she took action. Armed with her knowledge of business and supply chain management, she has an MBA and has been teaching for business for years, started out calling drug manufacturers, hospitals and every 800 number she could find that seemed like it could lead to locating the supply they needed. From that start, a mom working to help her child, Laura has launched an all volunteer-led non-profit organization Angels for Change that to date has helped 50 other families across the US by finding the drugs for their children who are pediatric Cancer patients like Abby was. In the meantime, she and her organization have become advocates for all patients and have successfully engaged with the FDA, big Pharma, Academia, and Children’s hospitals to help solve the issue of drug shortages. She has convened two Summits attended by leaders of some of the biggest cancer drug producers and successfully brought the face of the individual patient into the discussion. It is more than supply chain problems, it is about the youngest among us with the smallest voices. Her goal is so that no parent should ever hear the words “We don’t have the drugs your child needs”. and that do doctor ever has to say them. Angels for Change, a home grown non-profit, is leading the charge to end life-saving drug-shortages around the world.