At Fight Colorectal Cancer, we head straight to “the top” when it comes to demanding a cure for this dreaded disease. Our advocates hit Capitol Hill each March to meet with members of Congress. And throughout the year, a special committee ensures that actions for CRC advocacy are taken.
Meet the newest members of the Grassroots Action Committee of Fight CRC – the team behind the magic that happens year after year at our annual advocacy event, Call-on Congress.
What is the GAC?
The Grassroots Action Committee was formed to coalesce the passions of die-hard colorectal cancer advocates. We consider the GAC our “super committee!” They are committed, engaged advocates who take action when asked and provide advice for engaging and empowering the grassroots advocates.
Each individual on this committee serves a one year term and commits to:
· Participating in meetings to communicate priorities and provide input on federal and state legislation
· Promoting Fight CRC through our communications and recruiting more advocates
· Contributing to the development of the advocacy and outreach programs
· Mentoring advocates at Call-on Congress
· Guiding the agenda for Call-on Congress
Meet Belle, Michell and Patti!
This year, the GAC is adding three wonderful women to the squad.
Belle Piazza is a stage III rectal cancer survivor diagnosed in October 2007 (27 of 38 lymph nodes were positive.) Belle just happens to be Miss February 2012 of The Colondar. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2011, she had a recurrence in her lungs and lymph nodes and is now on “chemo for life.” As a patient who fights for answers, Belle met up with Fight Colorectal Cancer for the first time in 2012. After her late friend, Pat Steer’s, encouragement to attend Call-on Congress, she traveled to Washington DC from the Portland area with her family. She enjoyed Call-on Congress and jumped at the opportunity to get involved on the planning level. As an organizer and planner, Belle looks forward to serving as a resource for anyone who is new to Fight Colorectal Cancer and showing others how to get involved in the fight – either in DC and/or at home.
Michell Baker is a 5-year veteran of the Call-on Congress. She and her two sisters looked for a way to get involved after their dad, Steve, passed away from colorectal cancer in 2008 at age 56. Struck that colorectal cancer is a preventable disease, the Baker sisters, from Oregon, have met with their representatives every March since 2009 and pushed for funding, research and colorectal cancer policy. This year, Michell is excited to get involved even more through the GAC. As the Executive Director of the Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance, she is excited to help plan the 2014 Call-on Congress and lead more advocates to become part of Fight CRC’s One Million Strong through local and national participation.
Patti lost her husband Harry to stage IV colorectal cancer just two days after Christmas in 2006. Starting in 2008, she attended the Call-on Congress and has made it her personal mission to carry on her husband’s memory and give meaning to his life and battle with colorectal cancer. She first got involved with Fight Colorectal Cancer after receiving helpful information and support from the ACOR List Serve and has since formed many close bonds within the group. A trained nurse from Pennsylvania, she changed her focus from critical care to oncology nursing in 2010 and now spends her time helping patients as an Oncology Nurse Navigator. Her mission is to spread awareness about CRC screening and support research whenever and wherever possible. In her own words, she “will not rest until CRC is as extinct as polio.”
The 2013-2014 GAC
Belle, Michell and Patti join a great group of committee members who’ve been leading the charge when it comes to colorectal cancer advocacy. The other GAC members include:
· Rose and Eric Hausmann (committee chairs)
· Josh Wimberly
· Pam Seijo
· Tom Fueller
· Jennifer Bretsch
· Elaine Newcomb
Are YOU interested in joining GAC?
Each GAC member is selected through a nomination process and serves a one-year term (that may be renewed or extended.) If you’d like to know more about how to Fight with Us, please contact us!