Local Cancer Survivors and Patients Gain Support from Nevada Lawmakers After Trip to D.C.

September 21, 2023

LAS VEGAS, NEV. – Cancer survivors and patients from Las Vegas and Reno represented Nevada in Washington, D.C. Tuesday as part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. Tammy Moyle, Deidra Hamilton, Patti Kellerhouse, Jennifer Johnson, Sean McCoy, and Alphonso Gibbs joined more than 700 cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from across the United States to meet with and urge lawmakers to prioritize cancer care and prevention. 

Nevada’s volunteers have been touched by cancer in some way. Moyle is set to begin treatment for breast cancer after being diagnosed in August. Kellerhouse is a two-time survivor and is currently receiving treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), which has no cure. Johnson has been fighting lung cancer for more than a year, and Hamilton is a survivor of retinoblastoma (eye cancer), after being diagnosed as a toddler. Sean McCoy, Reno, lost his mother to stage four lung cancer. 

“For me, [cancer] is very personal,” said McCoy. “Two years ago, my mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and within 14 days was gone. For me, I know [cancer research] won't save my [mother], but what it could do is help others have more time to fight; more time to say goodbye.”

Volunteers asked Nevada’s congressional delegation to support an increase in federal funding for cancer research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The group also asked lawmakers to support a bill which would waive out-of-pocket costs for individuals with the highest risk of prostate cancer. This includes Black men and those with a family history of the disease. 

Additionally, lawmakers were asked to support legislation to create a pathway for Medicare to cover new multi-cancer early detection tests once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and proven effective.

Nevada volunteers met in-person with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Rep. Susie Lee. Staff from other members of the state’s delegation met with the group. Sen. Cortez Masto immediately supported an increase in funding for cancer research.  

After meeting with lawmakers, volunteers gathered at the Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C., to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have been lost to the disease during the annual Lights of Hope display. Illuminated bags decorated with the names of those who have faced a cancer diagnosis were displayed as a powerful message of hope. More than 200 bags from Nevada were included in the display.

More than 17,000 Nevadans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year and nearly 6,000 are projected to die from the disease. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the cancer mortality rate in the United States has declined 33% since 1991. Progress is attributed to improvements in cancer treatment, less people using tobacco, and increases in early detection. 


Media Contacts

Alex Wiles
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Las Vegas