Lobby Day: Hundreds of ACS CAN Advocates Head to Nation’s Capital to Make Cancer a National Priority
This week marks one of my favorite times of the year, and an incredibly exciting time for ACS CAN staff and volunteers: ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones from across the country have traveled to Washington, D.C. to ask their members of Congress to make cancer a top priority. The event brings together these passionate advocates from across the country, working to advance federal legislation that will impact the cancer burden in their communities.
The event, which runs nearly three full days, started on Sunday. On Monday, advocates will get a chance to hear from National Cancer Institute director Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless, who will share his thoughts on the importance of federal funding for cancer research from his perspective as the leader of the nation’s premier cancer research establishment. ACS CAN advocates will also get to hear from Dick Deming, MD, Chair of ACS CAN’s Board of Directors and a longtime ACS CAN volunteer.
Tuesday, ACS CAN advocates will begin the day with a special rally led by Division I college basketball coaches. The coaches – Steve Donahue from the University of Pennsylvania, Chris Holtmann from the Ohio State University, Jeff Jones from Old Dominion University, John Gallagher from the University of Hartford, and former NCAA and NBA coach and national sports commentator P.J. Carlesimo – are members of Coaches vs. Cancer®, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The coaches will rally the crowd before they join volunteers heading to Capitol Hill for hundreds of meetings in the Senate and House offices.
As our advocates head to their legislative meetings in their signature blue ACS CAN shirts, they’ll be focused on three specific asks:
- Increase funding for research at the National Institutes of Health by at least $2 billion
- Advance legislation to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors by expanding access to palliative care services and coordinated care
- Support legislation that will close a loophole in Medicare that often results in surprise costs for seniors when a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy
Lobby Day will culminate with our “Lights of Hope” ceremony where about 33,000 lights will be on display at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool to represent and honor loved ones impacted by cancer. The following day, advocates will hear a keynote address by television host and cancer survivor Matt Iseman, who will share his personal journey of surviving cancer, before returning to their hometowns.
Each year, I look forward to spending Leadership Summit and Lobby Day with the people who are at the heart of this organization. Be sure to check back here on the blog later this week for more updates and photos.