Cancer Patients and Survivors Rally Legislators Virtually Due to Coronavirus

Technology Enabled American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteers to Continue Efforts to Tackle Cancer

May 15, 2020

COLUMBUS, OH – The unpredictable and dynamic nature of COVID-19 is no match for the steadfast commitment of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) volunteers. Because of the virus and the elevated risk for those with compromised immune systems became a roadblock for the annual Cancer Action Day, cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across the state traveled virtually to the state capitol yesterday to meet with Ohio’s lawmakers about the need to properly fund the state’s Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program, and protecting youth from indoor tanning. 

“Cancer hasn’t stopped. So, neither will we. As a cancer survivor, I let my lawmakers know if we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health problem in Ohio, this goal must be top of mind for our legislature,” said Julie Turner, ACS CAN Ohio state lead ambassador. “By reducing tobacco’s toll and by protecting youth from indoor tanning, we can reduce suffering and death from this disease.”

Throughout the day, volunteers were able to hear from the Ohio Department of Health Medical Director, Dr. Mark Hurst and The Ohio State University Men’s Basketball Coach, Chris Holtmann who participates in the Coaches vs. Cancer program. 120 volunteers were able to meet with 70 legislative offices.  

Specifically, the Ohio volunteers asked the legislature to:

Properly Fund the State’s Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program 
Invest $35 million in Ohio’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation program; restoring funding levels to mid-2000s investment levels at a minimum of $35 million per year would allow the state to revive it’s once successful and impactful comprehensive program. This investment will allow the state to help prevent kids from starting to use tobacco products and to help people quit, while delivering health and cost-saving benefits to Ohio.

Protect All Those Under 18 from Using Indoor Tanning Devices
Support legislation that would protect Ohio’s youth from using indoor tanning devices without exemptions. The use of indoor tanning device before age 35 increases an individual's lifetime risk of melanoma by 59%. One in thirteen high school girls has used a tanning device, with numbers increasing to one in eight by their senior year.  By protecting youth from using indoor tanning devices, we can reduce skin cancer rates and save lives

“We are meeting with our elected leaders virtually yesterday as representatives of each one of the Ohioans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year,” said Pam Manges, ACS CAN Ohio vice state lead ambassador. “When it comes to reducing tobacco’s impact on our state, politicians need to put politics aside and reach across the aisle.”

Even as we face this pandemic, every day an estimated 197 Ohioans are hearing the words “you have cancer” for the first time and 25,380 in the state are expected to die from this devastating disease this year. Those gathered yesterday are calling on Ohio lawmakers to change this by taking steps to make the fight against cancer a priority.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager