Monday Recap | 2013 Call-on Congress

discussion-group-breakout-fight-colorectal-cancerA small group of advocates from Virgina sat in a circle. Tasked with telling their stories, each took turns explaining what led them to the 2013 Call-on Congress.

A girlfriend of a survivor who passed away several years ago kicked off with her story.

Then two colorectal cancer survivors chimed in.

A Fight Colorectal Cancer staff member explained what led her to taking a job at the organization.

And then, the circle got quiet.

As a young woman sitting next to me tried to speak, her eyes welled up and tears streamed down her face. Although she never managed to tell her story, we all knew she came in memory of someone dearly loved.

Someone who fought colorectal cancer. Someone who’s story is about to be told on Capitol Hill this week.

“If you are not taking up time with your members of Congress, nobody would be. Nobody up on Capitol Hill would be talking about colorectal cancer.” – Carlea Bauman, President of Fight Colorectal Cancer

Research Saves Lives and Money

max-goldstein-research-america-call-on-congress-presentationWe kicked off the 2013 Call-on Congress with a brief overview of the federal budget.

Way to start in lightly, huh?

But our presenter, Max Bronstein, MPP, from Research!America did a fabulous job of simplifying the complex system and process we face.

Max explained the federal budget, federal spending and the importance of allocating funds to medical research. Some of his main points and highlights included:

  • The public is EXTREMELY supportive of medical research.
  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) receives less than 1% of the federal budget.
  • Current-day sequestration is cutting programs invested in cancer research.
  • The budget crisis is creating a very challenging environment for researchers who run massive research programs without knowing their budgets.
  • We should urge Congress to compromise and make a long-standing deal.

Check out the slides from Max Bronstein’s presentation.

advocates-colorectal-cancer-fight-crc-call-on-congressMax ended with great encouragement to our team of colorectal cancer advocates:

  • Advocacy is patriotic.
  • We are ALL patients.
  • Research needs you. (Research is in big trouble right now and faces the biggest threat it’s ever seen. If we’re not out there advocating for federal funds to go to research, the problem will get worse.)
  • The right advocate at the right time can make a HUGE impact.
  • Advocacy determines priorities.

“Congress determines what’s important by hearing from constituents. Advocacy determines priorities.” Max Bronstein, MPP, Research!America

We are Winning.

rodrick-samuels-colorectal-cancer-advocateMax clued us into the reality (and crisis) of research funding and how it relates to colorectal cancer.

Rodrick Samuels – he got us fired up.

As the owner of Profile Barber Institute & CRC advocate, he gave an energetic presentation that included “repeat after me’s,” and audience participation. (Oh – and he happened to throw in a lesson on how to properly describe hair-cutting scissors … I mean shears.)

A passionate man honoring his late mother through his efforts, Rodrick showed the crowd how anyone can channel their passion and position for disease advocacy.

He encouraged everyone to remember:

  • We are winning. We are strong.
  • What we push for makes dollars and sense.
  • We will comb for a cure and cut out colorectal cancer.

“There is nothing in this world I can’t do nothing about – even if it’s adjusting myself in an unpleasant situation so it doesn’t steal my spirit.” – Rodrick Samuels

What an awesome speaker to get us fired up!

Wrapping up Day One

mike-mcconnell-colorectal-cancer-survivorA mix-and-mingle with cocktails and dinner filled the evening. Advocates swapped more stories and found common bonds with one another. An encouragement from Mike McConnell (father-in-law of Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley) rounded out the evening.

Goosebumps lined our arms by the time Mike finished his impromptu speech.

Heading into tomorrow…

As many echoed throughout the day, the Call-on Congress is more than a set of meetings and training. It’s an introduction into a new family.

Whether we’re here for ourselves, the survivor in our lives or the loved one whose memory still brings us to tears, one thing is clear after today-

We are strong.

We will make sure Congress knows all about us.

Connect With Fight Colorectal Cancer this Week

Want to see more from Day One – 2013 Call-on Congress?

Read our Twitter and check out Facebook.

Look for hashtag #ConC2013 or tags from @FightCRC

Share your story on the One Million Strong blog and take the One Million Strong pledge.


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    Monday Recap | Call-on Congress 2013 | Fight Colorectal Cancer

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