Mariah Forster Olson, an ACS CAN Ambassador Constituent Team Lead (ACT Lead), traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to share her story as a childhood cancer survivor and to advocate on behalf of other patients and survivors during the 2019 Childhood Cancer Action Days.
ACS CAN's Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Lobby Day
Today is the start of ACS CAN's signature annual event: our Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. We'll be welcoming more than 600 cancer patients, advocates, survivors, caregivers and their families from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district to Washington, D.C. for more than three days of training, events, keynote presentations and meetings with lawmakers.
It's one of my favorite events of the year. Tuesday, advocates will converge on Capitol Hill in their signature blue ACS CAN shirts for meetings in each of the 100 Senate offices and more than 350 House offices. Each advocate has a personal story about his or her connection to cancer, but each advocate also represents hundreds if not thousands of people battling the disease in their communities. On behalf of everyone nationwide who has heard the terrifying words, You have cancer," ACS CAN's volunteer advocates will emphasize the need to make the fight against cancer a national priority. This year, advocates will ask lawmakers to do three things to help make the fight against cancer a national priority:
- Restore funding for cancer research at the NIH and NCI, and for cancer prevention and early detection programs at the CDC
- Support legislation to improve the quality of life for cancer patients by providing patients with better access to palliative care services and coordinated care
- Pass a bill to increase the federal cigarette tax by 94 cents to keep millions of kids from smoking and dramatically reduce health care costs in our country
ACS CAN volunteers and staff are already armed with the knowledge and the passion they need to talk to their members of Congress about these lifesaving initiatives. Yet, to send them off to Capitol Hill with even more motivation and confidence, we are hosting a rally Tuesday morning with Division I college basketball coaches and the leaders of some of the nation's top comprehensive cancer research centers. The basketball coaches Tommy Amaker (Harvard University), Mitch Henderson (Princeton University), Chris Mooney (University of Richmond) and Roy Williams (University of North Carolina) are members of Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that is celebrating its 20th anniversary. They will speak about their personal cancer connections and why cancer research funding is so critical.
Edward E. Partridge, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Donald Trump, M.D., FACP, president and CEO of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, will address the impact of budget cuts on cancer labs across the country and the importance of restoring critical research funding.