The fight to stop the tobacco industry’s dangerous hold on our country’s health is ever-changing and demands strong, comprehensive public policy change.
Uniting Voices: Florida Cancer Action Week
While many start to slow down this time of year to turn their focus toward the holidays, ACS CAN volunteers are using every opportunity they can to engage their lawmakers before the end of the year. The week after Thanksgiving, cancer advocates across Florida gathered for their first Cancer Action Week, where ACS CAN volunteers asked their elected officials to support the fight against cancer across the state. They discussed our three state legislative priorities for 2018: increased funding for the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program; increased funding for Florida’s two biomedical research programs and continued funding for Tobacco Free Florida, which provides for tobacco prevention and education.
Our volunteers met with lawmakers and their staff in 30 in-district offices, including a meeting with staff in Governor Rick Scott’s office. In addition to the in-person meetings, volunteers across the state who weren’t able to participate in person made their voices heard through emails to the lawmakers and social media, using the hashtags #FLCancerLobbyDay and #FundMaryBrogan.
The week was a big success, and our volunteers shared how pleased they were with a new opportunity to engage lawmakers in this lifesaving work:
“Cancer Action Week was a unique opportunity to independently set up appointments with our state legislators and meet them and/or their staff on their home turf. The informal atmosphere and relationships that were cultivated will be invaluable for the future. Looking forward to more opportunities like this!” - Donna Lundy, Florida State Lead Ambassador
“It was an honor for me to meet with Senator Thurston and other legislators on behalf of the American Cancer Society during the Cancer Action Week. Senator Thurston listened to our three priorities in the Fight Against Cancer and was on board with each of them. The other legislators we met were also in agreement.” - Deborah Thompson, Florida volunteer (pictured at the right with Senator Thurston).
“I felt that with Cancer Action Week nothing is impossible, when you care so deeply about an issue that can transform so many lives.” - Cynthia Lau, Florida volunteer
This was a fantastic new opportunity to make a big impact not only in legislator’s offices, but also on volunteers who realized the power of their voices and their passion to advance progress in the fight against cancer. Looking ahead into 2018, we will continue to find new ways to engage lawmakers and make cancer a top national priority.