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.
An Uncompromising Commitment to Reaching More Communities and Saving More Lives
In 2016 alone, nearly 96,000 African American women were diagnosed with cancer, often at a later stage of the disease when it is less treatable. Some of those cancers – such as breast cancer – impact this community disproportionately. There is an opportunity to fight back against the disease and help reduce these disparities through advocacy for policy solutions related to cancer research funding, access to health coverage and prevention. Our partnerships with other organizations are critical to this work.
Over the last four years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) have worked with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. (DST) to address cancer disparities among African American women. We’ve engaged DST’s members in fundraising and advocacy efforts that help prevent, detect and treat cancer. While most of this work has been regionally-focused in the past, I’m thrilled to say that ACS and ACS CAN have expanded this partnership with DST into a national one.
DST was founded in 1913 – the same year that ACS was founded -- and has built a legacy of transforming lives through a strong commitment to service, leadership and empowerment. They have initiated more than 250,000 women and have nearly 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters located throughout the United States and eight countries. Partnering with strong organizations such as DST allows ACS and ACS CAN to reach more diverse communities impacted by cancer.
Through this collaboration, ACS and ACS CAN will work with DST chapters across the county to conduct fundraising and advocacy campaigns respectively within African American communities and among other key constituencies. DST members will also have the opportunity to attend and participate in ACS CAN state lobby day events and other policy and legislative events to build a stronger, louder voice in the movement to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.
Individually, ACS CAN and Delta Sigma Theta have both been forces for tremendous good. Together, I think there is a lot more we can accomplish. We’re pleased to be able to grow this partnership and work on issues that will improve the lives and outcomes of African Americans affected by cancer. Going forward, together we can and will do so much more to impact the cancer burden.