Lt. Governor Mike Cooney Joins the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for 6th Annual Hoops, Hops and Hope!

NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship Game Watch Party Helps Raise Money to Fight Cancer

April 8, 2019

Helena, MT—The 6th Annual Governor’s Hoops Challenge is about to wrap up. On behalf of Gov. Bullock, Lt. Governor Mike Cooney will recognize the winners of the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Challenge competition on April 8, 2019. State departments and businesses have been wearing sneakers with their suits or wearing collegiate apparel for a suggested $5 donation to the Society on Thursdays and Fridays during the NCAA basketball tournament that ends April 8.

The award ceremony will kick off the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Hoops, Hops and Hope event. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship watch party is open to the public and will be held at the Lewis and Clark Tap Room, 1535 Dodge Avenue, Helena, from 6 – 9 p.m. on April 8, 2019.

Suits and Sneakers™ is part of the Coaches vs. Cancer® program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. It leverages basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities and advocacy programs conducted by ACS CAN, the Society’s advocacy affiliate.

The issue theme for the Governor’s Hoops Challenge is access to care through Medicaid expansion, which prevents cancer and saves lives.

"I’m honored to be here in support of the American Cancer Society’s Hoops, Hops, and Hope event to help raise awareness for cancer and early detections and help raise funds for cancer patients all across Montana," said Lt. Governor Mike Cooney. "The American Cancer Society does so many amazing things for cancer patients and their families throughout Montana, as well as promoting healthcare policy to increase cancer screenings for early detection. I want to thank their advocacy affiliate the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for all their work this Legislative Session to help get Medicaid expansion reauthorized and prevent attacks to the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act."

Montana is making great progress in addressing cancer incidence and mortality in Montana. Increasing access to Medicaid has played a large role in helping avert nearly 2,500 cases of colon cancer and providing more than 7,500 breast cancer screenings since January 2016.

"We also support Medicaid expansion but have serious concerns with any bill that moves forward work requirements. It would be tragic if we can’t provide life-changing and lifesaving coverage to thousands of our friends, family and neighbors. Any delay tactics such as creating bureaucratic red tape and regulations could have unintended, costly consequences," said ACS CAN Montana Government Relations Director Kristin Page-Nei. "Although work requirement exemptions are often available for those with chronic health conditions, the complexity and frequency of the administrative reporting requirements could lead to people losing their Medicaid coverage – including those who should be exempt and those at risk for cancer. We are happy to see that HB 658 has a plan to guard against large numbers of people being disenrolled if the exemptions don’t work as planned.  If something goes wrong – there is a failsafe that will halt the program and fix it."

Other important cancer-fighting legislation this session included Senate Bill 21, which restricts youth under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning devices. Research shows that indoor tanning use before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk by 59%, and Montana has one of the highest melanoma rates in the country. Unfortunately, this skin cancer prevention legislation died in House Judiciary this morning 8-11.

About the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
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

About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to


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Media Contacts

Kristin Page Nei
Montana Government Relations Director