11/25/2013 07:58 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Detroit Leading Change

On December 7, I come home to Detroit, where there are more good deeds coming from the capital of better ideas. Move Detroit for Less Cancer is yet another inspired Detroit grassroots effort to support Now in the event's second year, Move Detroit for Less Cancer has greatly helped in expanding our platform.

Detroit is my birthplace, as is true for my parents who were both born and raised in the city.

Like so many families, my parents families were involved with the Detroit community and some had and still do have jobs in the car industry.

While growing up in the suburbs, as a young adult I lived in Detroit and attended and graduated from Wayne State University.

As a child who enjoyed the benefits of Detroit, I would visit JL Hudson's at Christmas time to give Santa my long list and catch a glimpse of their magical windows complete with mechanical elves and reindeer. I was raised on the home town brew of Vernor's ginger-ale (years later it would be an occasional Stroh's beer), and I frequented places like the Detroit Institute of Arts and Belle Isle where the park's aquarium was top on my list of favorite places. I think I was a teenager before I ever saw a foreign car.

Every time I return to Detroit I continue to see its magic -- yet at the same time, see the pain and loss that comes with poverty. That said, I also feel a sense of optimism by a growing trend of some exciting social enterprise occurring. Cutting-edge efforts by individuals banding together, chipping away at creating a new future for the city one step at a time.

I believe Detroit does have a great future ahead -- mostly due to an exciting force of social leaders who are committed to positive outcomes for its next generation. Just a few years ago one would be hard pressed to find anything resembling wholesome, nutritious food inside its city limits. Today, however, there are urban farms and gardens popping up around the city and even a Whole Foods. One cannot help but be inspired by what can be accomplished with a good idea paired with action especially in the face of despair. I am in awe by the unrestrained leadership of many Detroiters to jump in and do something better and more thoughtful.

As an organization and on behalf of Less Cancer we engage law makers, scientist, doctors and community leadership with a laser focus on reducing incidences of cancer specifically with the next generation in mind. The work for prevention is complicated and there is no one magic answer. Making less cancer a goal can lead us to many other virtuous outcomes that span across human health, economy and environment.

This Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks to Detroiters who are changing the game in how we look at human health. I am proud to be from Detroit a city that deeply contemplates how the future can be different, and importantly are taking charge to insure healthier futures.