Cancer Patients and Survivors Rally Legislators Virtually Due to COVID-19

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

April 23, 2021

COLUMBUS, OH – The unpredictable and dynamic nature of COVID-19 is no match for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) volunteers’ steadfast commitment. When 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 yesterday to the state capitol to meet with Ohio’s lawmakers about the need to support legislation that will reduce suffering and death from cancer. 

“Cancer hasn’t stopped. So, neither will we. As a cancer advocate, 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 Pam Manges, ACS CAN Ohio state lead ambassador. “By reducing tobacco’s toll and improving access to care, we can reduce suffering and death from this disease.”

Specifically, the Ohio volunteers asked the legislature to:

State’s Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program Funding: increase funding by $2.5 million annually for Ohio’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program. Increasing funding is a vital first step to protect Ohio youth from tobacco and help those already using tobacco quit. This is especially important in 2021, given the skyrocketing youth tobacco use rates.

Ohio’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project Funding: preserving state funding for the Ohio Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Project. This program helps fill the health care coverage gap by providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings and the impacts of COVID-19 make this program more critical than ever.

E-cigarettes and Ohio’s Smoke-Free Workplace Act: support the governor’s efforts to add e-cigarettes to the Ohio Smoke-Free Workplace Act. Adding e-cigarettes would continue to protect the rights of those who live or work in Ohio to breathe clean air, free from secondhand exposure to nicotine and other harmful substances found in these products including cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

Medicaid Work Requirements: oppose Senate Bill 17, which would impose work requirements for Medicaid and make other changes to eligibility. Maintaining access to quality, affordable, accessible and comprehensive health care coverage and services is a matter of life and survivorship for thousands of low-income cancer patients and survivors.

Even as we face this pandemic, every day, an estimated 200 Ohioans are hearing the words “you have cancer” for the first time and 25,140 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.


About ACS CAN at 20 
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting  

Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager