Ten Thousand Americans Unite to Urge Congress to Boost Government Investment in Cancer Research and Programs

September 20, 2006

Ten Thousand Americans Unite to Urge Congress to Boost Government Investment in Cancer Research and Programs

Survivors from all 50 States Visit Nation’s Capital for
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Celebration on the Hill 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 20, 2006 – Nearly 10,000 cancer patients, survivors and their families from every Congressional District in the country are gathering today on the National Mall for Celebration on the Hill 2006, a unique grassroots event celebrating cancer survivorship and urging Congress to make cancer a national priority. The event, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), calls nationwide attention to the critical need for government support of cancer research and lifesaving cancer prevention and early detection programs.

“People from every corner of the country who have been touched by cancer are making a strong statement today about the importance of the government’s role in the battle against this disease,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive of the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN. “Lawmakers need to know that without their support, the war on cancer will not be won.”

Celebration on the Hill 2006 honors those who have survived cancer, commemorates the passing of those who succumbed to the disease and urges members of Congress to strengthen their commitment to the fight against cancer. The goal: Defeating cancer.

Last year, Congress voted to cut the National Institutes of Health budget for the first time in 35 years and to reduce funding for cancer research for the first time in a decade. Additional cuts are being considered this year.
“After doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health, Congress in recent years has frozen or cut federal funding for medical research and critical cancer programs,” said Daniel E. Smith, ACS CAN’s national vice president of government relations. “If lawmakers fail to reverse this troubling trend, they will jeopardize the remarkable progress we have made against cancer.” 2

Nearly 4,000 specially chosen Celebration Ambassadors are meeting with their Congressional representatives today to share their personal cancer stories and ask lawmakers to support legislation that will help advance the fight against cancer. They are asking lawmakers to

• Sign ACS CAN’s Congressional Cancer Promise, which outlines specific legislative proposals to elevate prevention, early detection and survivorship, increase the nation’s commitment to research and expand access to care.

• Boost federal Cancer Research Funding at the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.

• Invest in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screening tests.

“Celebration Ambassadors include cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and others who volunteer their time in their communities in the name of defeating cancer,” said Sally West Brooks, national volunteer chair of the American Cancer Society and Board member of ACS CAN. “They come from varying backgrounds and different parts of the country, but they have come to Washington with a singular purpose – to elevate cancer as a national priority.”
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life® Wall of Hope is a visual focal point for Celebration on the Hill, serving as a national monument to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. It is constructed from 5,000 banners adorned with several hundred thousand signatures and messages of support from volunteers nationwide. If laid end-to-end, the banners would rise to a height 85 times that of the Washington Monument. The Wall, which encompasses three city blocks, serves to personalize the fight against cancer while expressing support for efforts to advance the fight against cancer at all levels of government.

Throughout the day today, Celebration participants will walk laps around the Capitol Reflecting Pool as part of the American Cancer Society’s signature activity, Relay For Life. Relay for Life events are held annually in more than 4,600 communities throughout the country, celebrating survivorship and raising crucial funds for the fight against cancer. The Relay at Celebration on the Hill will start with the traditional Survivors’ Lap, during which participants will line the track to honor survivors, who will wear special sashes as they walk. The Relay For Life will continue for 12 hours, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EDT.
At dusk, the Capitol Reflecting Pool will be lit up by an estimated 20,000 luminaria memorializing those who have lost their battle with cancer. This Ceremony of Hope, a regular feature of Relay events across the country, will begin at 8:00 p.m. EDT. 3

Celebration participants also will have an historic opportunity to join the Society’s newest research study – Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3). The Society’s Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research is seeking to enroll a total of 500,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 65 from various racial and ethnic backgrounds who have never been diagnosed with cancer. The study will provide a better understanding of the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer, and it will inform the Society’s efforts to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.
Predecessors to CPS-3 have displayed the Society’s unique ability to study large number of Americans, with groundbreaking results. For example, the Society’s Hammond-Horn study, initiated in 1952, confirmed the link between tobacco and cancer. Cancer Prevention Study I (CPS-1) provided the data that enabled Surgeon General's report in 1964 to state for the first time that smoking was irrefutably linked to cancer.

Celebration on the Hill was first held in 2002 and raised the awareness of cancer issues among policymakers everywhere. The goals of Celebration on the Hill 2006, the second such event, are to elevate cancer as a top national priority and encourage lawmaker support for policies that will get the nation back on track toward meeting the national challenge goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by the year 2015.

Celebration on the Hill and other events during the week are underwritten by a widely diverse group of national and local corporations and organizations dedicated to the fight against cancer. Major national sponsors include Amgen, Coca-Cola, Discovery Health, FedEx, GE Healthcare, KPMG, Novelties, Partiality, Pfizer, Parma, Quest Diagnostics, Sam’s Club, Star cite, Venison/Georgia, Walgreen’s and Wal-Mart.

The American Cancer Society is partnering with ACS CAN, its sister advocacy organization, to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across America. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

ACS CAN, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization, uses issue campaigns and voter education to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit