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.
OVAC Lobby Day: Funding Cancer Research
Last week, nearly 120 cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, physicians and researchers, representing 50 cancer organizations, participated in 183 scheduled meetings with Members of Congress and their staff, as part of the 18th annual One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) lobby day. ACS CAN is a founding member of the OVAC coalition.
These advocates, including several ACS CAN volunteers, asked their lawmakers for $36.2 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including funding authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act; $6 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI); and $514 million in funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer prevention programs in FY 2018.
During their meetings, advocates let their voices be heard and illustrated the impact of past investment in research and the potential for additional progress by securing additional cancer research funding. Cynthia Lau, an ACS CAN volunteer and cancer survivor from Florida, shared her story of participating in clinical trials that led to her survivorship and how grateful she was for the progress being made in cancer research. “The latest research saved my life, and I was eventually able to be declared cancer free.” Lau said. “My hope is that my story can be an example of the positive impact of cancer research and why funding is so desperately needed.”
More than 15 million cancer survivors are alive today in this country thanks to innovations and advancements in the detection and treatment of cancer. We are at a point where advancements in cancer research are saving more lives than ever – it’s truly incredible.
Cancer research delivers breakthroughs and hope to the more than 1.7 million Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. Continued investments in lifesaving medical research and prevention for diseases like cancer should remain a top priority for Congress. Voters agree. According to a recent poll commissioned by OVAC, an overwhelming 90 percent of voters favor federal funding for medical research and 75 percent want Congress to significantly increase NIH funding. NIH and NCI have played a key role in virtually every major cancer prevention, detection and treatment discovery. We cannot slow our progress in the fight against cancer.
We must keep the momentum going. ACS CAN volunteers and staff will continue to engage lawmakers throughout the FY18 budget process to ensure momentum isn’t lost.