Senator Durbin Receives National Distinguished Advocacy Award for Championing Lifesaving Cancer Public Policy

Award is Highest Honor Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

September 11, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senator Dick Durbin received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award this week, the most prestigious award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of his longtime dedication to improving public health through public policy.

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.

“Sen. Durbin is a relentless advocate for policies aimed at protecting public health and advancing our fight against cancer,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “We’re thankful for his invaluable leadership on critically important policy issues, be it increasing cancer research funding or advancing tobacco control legislation.”

For years, Sen. Durbin has been a champion for increasing federal investment in cancer research funding and protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco products. In 1990, his support ensured the passage of landmark legislation to prohibit smoking on domestic flights. In 2015 he introduced the American Cures Act to create a mandatory funding stream for the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most recently, Sen. Durbin introduced the Stop Appealing Flavors in E-cigarettes to Kids (SAFE) Act to prohibit the sale of most flavored tobacco products targeted to youth. He also supported the successful campaign to raise the legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21 in Illinois this year.

“Sen. Durbin is an outspoken leader on issues central to our fight to reduce death and suffering caused by cancer, both back home in Illinois and across the country,” said Emily Hall, ACS CAN Illinois Grassroots Manager. “He prioritizes the health of residents in every state and continually takes the initiative to introduce legislation that strengthens our ability to fight this disease.”

The award was announced at ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., as nearly 700 volunteers and staff from across the country convened to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life, make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors and restrict flavors in tobacco products.



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

More Press Releases AboutCancer Research Funding, Tobacco Control, Illinois

Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager