BOISE – Idaho cancer advocates from Lewiston to Boise held virtual meetings with their members of Congress this week for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day to make the fight against cancer a national priority. The group joined nearly 700 other cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district for the event, which was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Idaho’s volunteer group included Boise high school student Tucker Briggs, Anita Sloan, a senior at Boise State University, Gary Offerdahl of Lewiston, and Cody Wolf, cancer researcher at Boise State. The advocates urged Idaho’s members of Congress to: Increase federal cancer research and prevention funding, keeping Affordable Care Act tax credits and support the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act. They thanked Senator Crapo for being a lead bipartisan sponsor of this multi-cancer early detection legislation in the Senate. Senator Risch and Congressman Simpson are also sponsors of this bipartisan effort to increase cancer screening and early detection in Medicare.
"Cancer hasn’t stopped, so neither have we. Congress must take action to address the needs of cancer patients during and beyond the pandemic," said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. "We need consistent and significant increases in cancer research and prevention funding to ensure we maximize past investments and continue to make significant progress preventing and treating a disease that is projected to kill more than 600,000 Americans this year."
In addition to urging lawmakers to boost research and prevention funding, ACS CAN volunteers also encouraged lawmakers to ensure that the Affordable Care Act tax credits that are scheduled to expire at the end of 2022 are made permanent and to cosponsor the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act.
"Fighting cancer doesn’t just happen in doctor’s offices, and we need a full and unwavering commitment from our elected officials and Congress to help prevent and treat cancer," said Cody Wolf, Boise resident and state lead ambassador for ACS CAN in Idaho. "Roughly 10,240 Idaho residents will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and we want our lawmakers to know we are counting on them. Lobby Day is the perfect opportunity to make sure that cancer issues are at the forefront."
The virtual meetings this week follow a Lights of Hope Across America event held on September 18 where 50,000 lit bags decorated with the names of those who’ve been touched by cancer were displayed in homes nationwide as a powerful message of hope. In Idaho, volunteers honored and remembered their loved ones with local displays across the state.
To learn more about ACS CAN and our public policy work to fight cancer, visit www.fightcancer.org/idaho.
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