SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Local American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer Abbie Luzius joined more than 100 other cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, physicians and researchers in Washington, D.C., this week to urge lawmakers to make fighting cancer a top national priority. These advocates united for the 19th annual One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) lobby day to ask legislators to fund cancer research at the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.
“I watched multiple family members battle this terrible disease, and I’m grateful to Congress for the strong bipartisan support it has demonstrated over the past three years through budget increases for NIH and NCI,” Luzius said. “Even with these recent increases, NIH and NCI are well below what funding levels were just 15 years ago when medical inflation is taken into consideration. If we don’t continue prioritizing cancer research funding, potential cures will languish in labs, and the significant breakthroughs we’re so close to making will go unfunded.”
Luzius is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist with Hope Cancer Resources in Springdale and has been published for her work in electronic cigarette research. Before beginning her work at Hope Cancer Resources, Luzius witness several family members battle diverse skin, breast and two different brain cancers. Today she educates the community at the local and state level about cancer prevention and assists cancer patients and at-risk communities in quitting the use of tobacco products with the goal of improving their overall health.
She joined 24 additional ACS CAN volunteers as well as dozens of volunteers from other organizations to meet with members of Congress and their staff. Together, OVAC volunteers urged Congress to
- Support a $39.3 billion budget for NIH in FY19, including funding provided from the 21st Century Cures Act;
- Support $6.375 billion for NCI; and
- Support $517 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cancer programs.
An overwhelming 92 percent of voters favor federal funding for medical research and more than 70 percent want Congress to significantly increase NIH funding, according to new research commissioned by OVAC.
Cancer is expected to kill more than 600,000 people in America this year – more than 1,650 just today.
This year in Arkansas, it is estimated that 16,130 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 6,910 will die from the disease. Federal funding for medical research and cancer prevention programs has had a role in every major advance against this disease. A full list of the OVAC health care groups is available here.