Wichita Falls Resident Ensures His Mother’s Legacy Fighting for Texans with Cancer Lives on

After Jackie Bush Lost her Life to Breast Cancer in 2020, Fellow Volunteers and Her Son Work to Ensure her Impact Isn’t Halted or Forgotten 

May 6, 2022

WICHITA FALLS, TX – May 6, 2022 – Family and friends recall former Wichita Falls resident Jackie Bush as the definition of bravery, strength and a force to be reckoned with. She undoubtedly left her mark in Texas, and on the hearts of fellow volunteers and legislatures as a lead volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Texas from 2013 to her passing in August 2020.  

After losing their dear friend and mother to breast cancer during the first year of the pandemic, her son Franklin Bush, along with close friends across the state are working today to ensure her impact isn’t gone or forgotten – and fight for policies that could have saved his mother.  

“I grew up in a near constant fear of my mother’s death when she was diagnosed, but she never did. Instead she the hand that she was dealt and turned it into her calling,” shared Franklin Bush who is now taking over her position as the lead volunteer for congressional district 13 to ensure her legacy lives on and fight for policies that could have saved his mother. “Her advocacy and unwavering passion for fellow survivors inspired me to pick up the mantle she passed when she died – so that no child has to live in fear of their parent dying of cancer and no parent should have to worry how much they have left with their children just because they hear the three dreadful words: ‘you have cancer’.” 

Most recently, Bush walked the halls of the statehouse urging lawmakers to appropriate funding to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), making Texas the second-largest funder of cancer research in the nation today.  

“Lawmakers had Bush on speed dial, fellow volunteers were inspired by her relentlessness advocating for cancer-fighting policies and cancer patients across the state who don’t know her name are undoubtedly thankful for her work thanks to policies she was key in helping to pass,” recounts ACS CAN Texas Grassroots Manager Kyle DeLeon. 

Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers across the state were inspired by Bush’s relentless advocacy and caring nature – finding strength in the special friendships they shared with her.  

“Jackie is one the fiercest cancer warriors I have ever met,” shared ACS CAN Texas State Lead Ambassador Nancy Neel when she first met Jackie on a trip to Washington D.C. to speak to Congressional members in 2011. “She had just finished a round of chemotherapy but was not going to let that stop her from being there and making her voice heard. I was in awe of her passion, fight and determination. She said, there was always hope and she would continue to fight until her last breath, no matter how cancer tried to knock her down, she kept getting right back up and continued her fight.” 

 Today, Franklin is among a group of Texans leading the charge for Texas lawmakers to ensure access to biomarker testing – which allows doctors to better understand an individual patient’s cancer and prescribe targeted therapies. Frankin credits biomarker testing and subsequent targeted treatment with granting him many more years with his mother; unfortunately, many Texans are unable to access such testing – even when medically appropriate – because their insurance plans don’t cover it. 

Biomarker testing is increasingly important in the treatment of many cancers, guiding doctors to recommend the right treatment, for the right patient at the right time. Targeted treatments based on the results of biomarker testing can lead to improved survivorship and better quality of life for cancer patients as a result. For Jackie specifically, biomarker testing allowed her to avoid a harsher treatment and instead receive a more targeted therapy with minimal side effects. 
“To me, Jackie is the perfect example of strength, love and faith. Jackie fought for not only herself but all cancer survivors,” said ACS CAN Texas Legislative Ambassador Chelee Wilds who was recruited to the advocacy organization by Jackie. “Her voice and physical presence is greatly missed, but her legacy lives on in all who knew and loved her.”