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.
Eliminating Disparities During Pride Month and Throughout the Year
As Pride month comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect upon the incredible progress members of the LGBT community have made in communities across the country and around the world. It’s also a time to recognize those who have supported equal rights for all Americans, including access to health care, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
At ACS CAN, we work to close the cancer disparities gap by supporting policies that help eliminate disparities in cancer research, prevention, screening, treatment and mortality. Research shows that the LGBT community has historically been disproportionately affected by cancer due to low rates of health insurance, fear of discrimination and negative experiences within the health care system.
This month, ACS CAN participated in 20 Pride events across the country. At these events, our staff and volunteers encouraged attendees to help us in our efforts to save more lives from cancer by signing petitions of support for cancer research funding and smoke-free policies. Both issues are priorities for ACS CAN and are critical to achieving a world free from cancer for everyone.
Cutting-edge cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is leading to better treatments that have the potential to improve and even save the lives of millions of Americans. Protecting and increasing federal funding for the NIH and NCI is critical to continued progress in discovering new and improved methods of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and care. Comprehensive indoor smoke-free laws that cover bars, restaurants and workplaces ensure that everyone has the right to breathe clean air, fostering a healthy work environment and protecting the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Many times, the petitions around these and other cancer policy issues serve as an introduction to our organization and help us recruit more advocates to help us advance our lifesaving mission. We had particular success at both Oklahoma Pride events, where over 600 petitions were signed.
“Oklahoma PRIDE festivals are my favorite community events to attend,” said Jamie Gross, ACS CAN Oklahoma State Lead Ambassador. “When ACS CAN has a presence in all communities across the state and eventually the country, that’s when we are able to put a face on this disease and work to protect cancer research funding and access to care for all Americans.”
As the year progresses, our engaged staff and volunteers plan to attend several additional Pride events, reaching more people and enlisting their help in saving more lives from this disease. We’re excited about these future opportunities to impact the cancer burden.