Why I advocate: Barb Diver

October 27, 2015

24 Years ago this month, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At first it seemed like a death sentence to me. The same disease that killed my mother and every other woman I knew who was diagnosed with it at the time.  Then I met my Reach to Recovery volunteer and I found hope.

As I went through my cancer journey, I found and used the resources of the American Cancer Society (ACS). The Society was incredibly helpful and supportive and a wonderful resource during my treatment. ACS provided me with hope.

Along with hope, another reason I survived is the advances in early detection and treatment that were available since my mother’s diagnosis. Because of the mammography guidelines stablished through research, I had my baseline mammogram in my 30’s and my cancer was detected before it could metastasize. The largest not-for-profit funding agency for cancer research is ACS, so I became an active participant in Relay For Life to raise money that would be used to fund future research.

Through volunteering with ACS, I learned about the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of ACS. I learned from ACS CAN that although ACS is the largest private funder of research, our federal government is the largest overall funder through the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute. I took part in the first Celebration on the Hill in 2002. Seeing the influence of our stories in Washington DC with our members of Congress and our success inspired me. I saw the passion of my fellow volunteers and how we could affect the fight against cancer. Since the first Celebration on the Hill, I haven’t stopped working with ACS CAN. I first volunteered with ACS CAN when living in Pennsylvania. I helped pass smoke-free laws across the state. When I moved to Ohio, I was lucky enough to get involved as a leadership volunteer within my congressional district. The difference I make keeps me involved. We aren’t always successful, but that deepens my resolve to keep trying. We will win this fight through research funded by both ACS and our government. The work we do in ACS CAN, making cancer a top national priority, will get us there.