Deborah Riner of Brunswick, Georgia Travels to Nation's Capital
BRUNSWICK, GA (September 12, 2013) – This week, more than 600 cancer patients, survivors, volunteers and staff from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district united in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, to call on Congress to take steps to make cancer a national priority.
Deborah Riner of Brunswick, the lead ambassador for Georgia for ACS CAN, met with congressional representatives to discuss the need to restore and sustain funding for cancer research and proven prevention programs, to co-sponsor legislation that supports patients’ quality of life and to support an increase in the federal tobacco tax.
“Congress has a critical role to play in the fight to defeat a disease that kills 1,500 Americans each day. As a volunteer, I will let my elected officials know that funding for cancer research and prevention programs, raising cigarette taxes to prevent kids from smoking and improving patients’ quality of life by ensuring access to care that treats the person as well as their disease must be top priorities for Congress,” said Riner. “Making these lifesaving programs a priority will dramatically impact our chances to eliminate death and suffering from cancer.”
Specifically, volunteers like Riner asked their members of Congress to:
• Restore and sustain funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and prevention program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Earlier this year, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration took effect, resulting in more than a 5 percent cut in funding for the NIH and steep cuts to the CDC.
• Co-sponsor legislation to improve the quality of life for cancer patients by providing patients with better access to palliative care services and coordinated care. Palliative care is a proven cost-effective way of improving the quality of patient care by focusing on relief from pain, stress and other often debilitating symptoms of treatment for a serious disease such as cancer. The bills currently introduced in Congress will help make palliative care more easily available to cancer patients and their families from the point of diagnosis by focusing on improving public outreach, research and workforce training and development.
• Support a 94-cent increase to the federal tobacco tax that would help adults quit and prevent kids from ever starting to smoke. The increase could prevent 1.74 million youth from ever becoming smokers and having to face the possibility of a tobacco-related death.
“One in two men and one in three women will hear the words ‘you have cancer’ in their lifetime. We need a full and unwavering commitment from Congress to take action to help prevent, treat and survive the disease,” said Riner. “We want our lawmakers to know that volunteers from Georgia and from every state across the country are counting on them to take a stand and not let another year pass – a year when 570,000 people in America will die from cancer – by supporting what works and funding research that can help finish the fight.”
Before meeting with their legislators, cancer advocates attended training sessions on communicating with elected officials, conducting grassroots activities in their communities and engaging the media.
The ACS CAN annual leadership summit and lobby day coincided this year with the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society. As the American Cancer Society continues to invest in cancer research and provide support and information for people with the disease, ACS CAN is working with elected officials and grassroots advocates to make this cancer’s last century.
The ACS CAN Lobby Day culminated with an evening Lights of Hope ceremony in front of the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool, with more than 10,000 lights spelling “hope” and “cure.” Each light honored a cancer survivor or memorialize a loved one who lost his or her fight with the disease.
ACS CAN is the non-profit, non-partisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit acscan.org.