We're Speaking Up For Colorectal Cancer With One Voice Against Cancer

ovac-lobby-da-miracle-adAdvocacy is in our blood here at Fight Colorectal Cancer. We host our annual grassroots event Call-on Congress in March but all year long we send advocates to Capitol Hill to advocate for colorectal cancer policy and medical research funding.

Today, three of our advocates will be on The Hill with One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a collaboration of national non-profit organizations who advocate for increased cancer-related appropriations.

Here’s who is representing Fight Colorectal Cancer:

  • Josh Wimberly, Grassroots Action Committee Member and survivor
  • Belle Piazza, Grassroots Action Committee Member and survivor
  • Rochelle Joseph, survivor and advocate
  • Dan Dixon, Ph.D., Co-Program Leader, Cancer Prevention, The University of Kansas Cancer Center Associate Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Kansas School of Medicine

Meet Our Advocates!

We asked Josh, Belle, Rochelle and Dan why they wanted to join One Voice Against Cancer. Take a look at what they had to say:

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JOSH:

I want to go to One Voice Against Cancer so I can represent colorectal cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from Alabama and the larger United States.  This event is different from the Congressional event we have in March with Fight Colorectal Cancer in that we are part of a larger contingent of non-profit organizations across the cancer spectrum.  It is extremely important that we show our legislators that we are a united front in this fight and that we are willing to work together to make sure funding for programs and research related to cancer is not ignored. This opportunity affords me the chance to strengthen my relationships with my congressional offices.  These relationships are fundamental in my continued efforts to see the legislative and budgetary frameworks strengthened for long-term efforts in fighting this disease.

BELLE:

A few weeks ago I sat next to an attractive thirty-something mom in the chemo room. She had gray hair with a purple streak, stylish clothes, a good-looking husband sitting next to her and a 9-year-old daughter at home.  I came to learn she had stage IV pancreatic cancer. PET scan results showed activity in her lymph nodes. Her life, in an instant, was forever changed. As I sat by her, she began to have a reaction to the chemo — the same chemo I was on when first diagnosed. It’s a treatment that makes you terribly sick.

This woman is not in a place where she can attend One Voice Against Cancer.  She has a life, a job, a family and a cancer diagnosis to deal with.  But, I am able to be in DC to speak for her. And for myself. And the other cancer survivors – including those we’ve lost – that I’ve met these past 6 1/2 years while I’ve been fighting my own battle with colorectal cancer.

I don’t know if my voice will be heard – if my message will have any impact.  But I do know if I’m not there to speak up, someone else will be in those Congressional offices speaking up about other issues.  So as long as I’m physically able and financially able to attend events like Call-on Congress and One Voice Against Cancer, I will do my best to speak for the hundreds of thousands of voices that aren’t being heard.  One Voice Against Cancer – my voice; speaking for so many.  What an honor.

ROCHELLE:

I decided to attend OVAC for the first time in 2012, mostly out of curiosity. Once I saw the power of 40 organizations united for a single cause…an opportunity to implore Congress to make cancer research a priority… it was clear that I needed to return. This year, the budgetary climate is a bit tighter than last, but our request is the same. As a colon cancer survivor and advocate, it is ultimately my charge to apply consistent and frequent pressure on “congressional knots” until they loosen and comply with our requests.
No matter how much time passes since my treatment ended, I can’t shake the nagging thought of a re-occurrence. That said, I will always have a vested interest in the fight against cancer and a realistic anticipation of a cure in my lifetime.

DAN:

As a colon cancer researcher, support for our research comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The across-the-board budget cuts that impact the NIH budget will affect our current studies and alter the educational training provided in academic laboratories. These immediate cuts result in fewer research grants being awarded, less employment opportunities, and decreased support for the training of our next generation of cancer researchers. OVAC provides a wonderful platform for researchers, advocates, and survivors to let Congress know that these cuts will have will have lasting effects on our goals of reducing cancer incidence and morality. I am proud to represent Fight Colorectal Cancer in this united front.

What’s the Ask?

fight-crc-ovac-prepOur advocates will join One Voice Against Cancer and encourage Congressional representatives for specific appropriations for the 2014 annual budget (FY14):

  • Funding for the National Institutes of Health — investing in cancer research. OVAC recommends $32,000 million – up 10.6% from FY13. The estimate based on House LHHS Allocation is currently $23,557 million.

  • Funding for Centers for Disease Control Cancer Prevention and Control Programs. OVAC recommends $70 million for colorectal cancer programs – up 72.4% from FY13. The estimate based on House LHHS Allocation is currently $33 million — $8 million less than FY13.
  • Funding for the Food and Drug Administration — investing in regulatory programs to improve the pipeline of delivery. OVAC recommends $2,600 million – up 8.7% from FY13. The estimate based on House LHHS Allocation is currently $1,947 million.

Review all of the One Voice Against Cancer Appropriations Requests.

Good Luck!

We are thankful for our inspiring advocates representing Fight Colorectal Cancer on Capitol Hill for us today! Thank you advocates and good luck!

Want to help? Take a look at our Advocacy Update & check out the steps you can take to get involved!

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