Wisconsin Cancer Advocates Send Powerful Message to Lawmakers with Touching Lights of Hope Display

September 27, 2021

Madison, Wis. –  Hundreds of lit bags decorated with the names of those who’ve fought cancer spelled out the words ‘hope’ and ‘cure’ Monday evening on the Wisconsin State Capitol’s steps. The display served as a touching yet powerful reminder to Wisconsin and national lawmakers on the importance of ensuring the fight against cancer remains a top priority.   

As a result of cancer patients’ increased vulnerability to the coronavirus, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers didn’t travel for the annual Lights of Hope ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where tens of thousands of bags are displayed to honor cancer survivors and those lost to this horrible disease. Instead, Wisconsin cancer advocates brought hope home to Madison with the moving tribute at the State Capitol.

“Each Light of Hope represents a life impacted by cancer and sends an important message to lawmakers that we need their support in the fight against this dreaded disease,” said Linda DeGarmo, ACS CAN volunteer and Chaseburg resident.

DeGarmo lost her 9-year-old daughter, Tammi, to leukemia in 1978 and since then, she has been firmly committed to help reduce the suffering and death caused by cancer. As part of her volunteer work, DeGarmo fundraises for Lights of Hope so ACS CAN may continue its mission advocating for everyone affected by cancer, including the estimated 36,520 Wisconsinites who will receive a cancer diagnosis this year.

Doctor Christian Capitini, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin and American Cancer Society research scholar, spoke during the event and urged lawmakers to expand access to health care and approve critical research funds.

“Today, advancements in cancer research are saving more lives than ever. Strong and consistent federal funding for cancer research will spur discovery, new treatments and tests that can help end cancer as we know it,” said Dr. Capitini.

As the organization marks its 20th anniversary this year, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society is as determined as ever to ensure cancer remains a top priority for policymakers at every level of government by empowering volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence public policy change that saves lives in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Lights of Hope bags spell the words 'hope' and 'cure' on Wisconsin State Capitol's steps.

Media Contacts

Priscilla Cabral-Perez
ACS CAN Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager