Moonshot: Not Because It’s Easy

In September 1962 – 60 years ago this month – then-US President John F. Kennedy, Jr. made his famous speech to inspire the nation’s effort to go to the moon:

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win....”

Not Because It’s Easy

Our work is not easy; it is hard. That is why we choose our work and give our effort. I can’t imagine one of you who would have chosen this field because it is “easy.” Like the advancements needed to land on the moon, we work toward scientific and medical advancement in transplantation and cellular therapy. Each of us has a professional journey, with challenge and achievement.   


We’ve all heard the term “moonshot” – meaning a challenging or innovative project or undertaking.

This month, the Board of Directors will reconvene to set a path forward for ASTCT’s strategic planning. We have been so grateful for a months-long process that has included voices from across the Society – representatives from our committees and SIGs.


As ASTCT has been working through its strategic planning for the next several years, I’ve thought a lot about what moonshot really means. Ideas that have arisen in our strategic planning discussions sometimes seem moonshot. How will we get there? How will we accomplish that?

We can get ourselves so wrapped up in the “how” that we can forget the “why” of the challenge ahead. Challenge does not need to be a negative word. In many cases, it simply opens possibility – although, not always easy.

What is clear to me? That our amazing community and volunteers do what they do and give voice not because it is easy. We commit to these big goals, when we know they are hard. And yet, we keep pushing forward with an incredible amount of resolve, embracing the possibilities with every step toward the future.

We are a Moonshot

So, what’s a moonshot? WE are a moonshot – each in our own ways. Are we looking to push ourselves, our science, our treatments for patients in innovative and challenging ways to levels not yet seen? Yes!

True to JFK’s words, ASTCT serves to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. We are unwilling to postpone, and we intend to win. I applaud and am ever grateful for this committed community who shoots for the moon every day. I’ll update you next month about how ASTCT’s strategic plan shapes up.

We accept the challenge! Moonshot!


Brenda M. Sandmaier, MD


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