Deborah Maskins is a long-time kidney cancer patient and advocate from Ontario, Canada. We spoke about her passion for supporting kidney cancer fellow patients.
How long have you been working with the KCA and what motivated you to get involved?
Having kidney cancer for most of my life has been a great motivator to get involved in organizations that are working towards a cure! Seriously though, I have been an extremely active kidney cancer patient advocate for about 15 years in Canada and internationally. When I stepped down from the Board of the International Kidney Cancer Coalition (IKCC) about a year ago, I offered to Gretchen [E. Vaughan, President and CEO of the KCA] and KCA’s Board Chair Dr. Christopher Wood to help the KCA in any way that I could. It’s been a year now, and I very much enjoy interacting with the PCAC. It’s a great group of people!
How do you hope to see the KCA grow?
In the long term, I’d like for there to be no need for an organization like the KCA at all — because we will have found a way to prevent kidney cancer, do early diagnosis, and cure any cases that still arise. For today’s reality, I’d love to see the organization embrace patient involvement at every decision point and at every level. I’ve been thrilled to be part of the KCA scientific grant review panel for example. Beyond scientific merit, it’s important that research that gets funded meets the most pressing priorities of patients and their caregivers.
What are you excited to bring to the organization?
Passion! Passion for patient engagement and a passion for patient-centered clinical trials. I have recently stepped down after four years as one of the National Cancer Institute Renal Task Force Patient Advocates, but I remain 100% committed to improving upon today’s treatments through better designed clinical trials. Since I have a rare subtype of kidney cancer, I am also able to represent patients with “non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma” who have an even greater need for clinical trials that will lead to better treatment options.
What is your favorite travel destination and why?
Definitely the UK. I was born in London, England and still carry dual citizenship. London is so rich in history and culture. I can’t wait to get back there again when it is safe to do so.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy cycling with my husband. We cycled in Vermont some years back, but since have been enjoying the cycling trails closer to home, along the Great Lakes (we live just outside Toronto). Throughout the Canadian winter I am cycling in my basement with dreams of getting back out there again in the Spring!