Call-on Congress Is Colorectal Cancer Advocacy


Advocacy Blog
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Table of Contents

  1. What Is Advocacy?
  2. Why Colorectal Cancer Advocacy Is Crucial?
  3. Call-on Congress Schedule
  4. Preparing You for Lobby Day
  5. Top Reasons to Register for Call-on Congress
  6. First-time Call-on Congress Experiences
  7. Who Can Attend Call-on Congress?
  8. Register for Call-on Congress Today!
  9. What Are You Waiting for?

Welcome to Advocacy in Action, our monthly blog where our Advocacy Team discusses all things advocacy: from important policy updates to ways to get involved, and behind-the-scenes views on how we make change happen. This month: Learn all about and make sure to register for Call-on Congress!

Call-on Congress is a compelling and effective way to make your voice heard in the fight against colorectal cancer. An annual Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) advocacy event, Call-on Congress not only brings our colorectal cancer community together in Washington, D.C., (on March 13 and 14, 2023), but allows us the opportunity to meet in person with members of Congress. 

How powerful is that?

Join us and register today for Call-on Congress! And keep reading to learn more about Call-on Congress and how your advocacy can make a difference in the fight against colorectal cancer!

Call-on Congress 2022 Advocacy Community Partners

What Is Advocacy?

The chances are, you didn’t wake up one morning and Google “How to become a colorectal cancer advocate?” 

Maybe you or a loved one or family member was diagnosed and went through treatment or is currently going through treatment. Or maybe when treatment options were discussed, there weren’t many. Perhaps you thought the ones that were explained to you have been around a long time, and you wondered why there hasn’t been more progress around colorectal cancer treatment.

Ultimately perhaps, you decided that you wanted to do something about this. You want to make a difference. That’s advocacy!

According to Merriam Webster, an advocate is "1. One who defends or maintains a cause or proposal,” and "2. One who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group.”

Advocacy can take on many different forms. It’s everything from talking to your friends and family about the importance of getting screened to meeting with your elected officials about policies that impact the colorectal cancer community. 

You don’t have to be a medical professional or a political scientist to be an advocate. You are an expert in your story and that is what makes you an effective advocate. Fight CRC is here to help you with the rest!

Why Colorectal Cancer Advocacy Is Crucial

Colorectal cancer advocacy is crucial because if we don’t tell our stories, no one is going to tell them for us. If we don’t fight for funding, or research, or equity, no one else will do it for us.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women. While diagnosis rates among those over 50 are declining since more people in their age group are being screened, more and more younger people are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

In less than eight years, colorectal cancer is projected to become the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for people under age 50. We don’t have a clear understanding of why this is happening, and federal funding for colorectal cancer research is lagging. 

Call-on Congress is Fight CRC’s signature colorectal cancer advocacy event and our opportunity to fight for more. Call-on Congress developed from Fight CRC Founder Nancy Roach’s vision and deeply held belief that patients need to be at the table where policy decisions are being made.

Molly McDonnell, Anjee Davis, Erin Darbouze in front of Capitol United in Blue Call-on Congress 2022  Advocacy

How Many Days Is Call-on Congress?

We are so glad you asked! Call-on Congress is technically two days, Monday, March 13, 2023, and Tuesday, March 14, 2023. 

However, we would love to have you volunteer and join us on Sunday, March 12, 2023, as we place the United in Blue flag installation on the National Mall. So, while Call-on Congress is actually a two-day event, we hope you consider joining us for three days!

When you register for Call-on Congress, you are registering to become a colorectal cancer advocate! And, you are registering for four events occurring over the span of two days, outlined in more detail below.

If you’re looking to make a difference for the colorectal cancer community, then Call-on Congress is the place for you! 

Here is what to expect:

Day 1: March 13

Lobby Day Refresher

Day 1 will kick off with a recap of your virtual advocacy training, so you can ask any last-minute questions and everything will be fresh in your mind before you meet with your members of Congress the next day.

United in Blue Rally

After the Lobby Day Refresher, we will head to the National Mall for our United in Blue Rally, where we will bring together our colorectal cancer community, advocacy organizations, and federal officials to demand that the federal government do more to prioritize colorectal cancer. 

In 2022, Fight CRC created United in Blue, the first-ever colorectal cancer flag installation on the National Mall. United in Blue returns to Washington, D.C. in March 2023, for its second year, as a visual representation of more than 27,400 people under the age of 50 estimated to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2030.

The United in Blue flag installation will remain in place on the National Mall for almost two weeks from March 12 through March 24, 2023.

Included within the United in Blue installation is a large display screen with the names and faces of relentless champions of hope. You will have the opportunity to submit names, photos and a brief message about you or a loved one in January 2023. Sign up to become an advocate to make sure you receive the announcement! 

United in Blue Flags in front of Capitol Building Call-on Congress 2022

Want to be a part of our colorectal cancer advocacy team that builds the United in Blue installation? Sign up to volunteer and join us Sunday, March, 12, 2023.

Celebration Dinner

We will finish off the day with our Celebration Dinner! An evening of food and fun where we will celebrate our community and honor advocates for your hard work throughout the year.  

Day 2: Call-on Congress Lobby Day

So now that you know how colorectal cancer advocacy empowers our community, we hope you’ll join us for Call-on Congress.

At Call-on Congress, we walk the halls of Congress, and we meet with our state’s members of Congress, or their representatives. 

Call-on Congress is your chance to speak with your elected officials face to face and seek support for federal funding to gain more tools for prevention, early detection, treatment options, and survival. 

Our representatives see you. They hear you. They are the people who are in a position to help the colorectal cancer community.

Your story provides a personal connection and removes the shame and stigma tied to colorectal cancer. Your story shows firsthand the urgent need to make colorectal cancer a national priority.

Don’t be too intimidated to attend. Call-on Congress is not about being an expert in policy. It’s about advocacy. Call-on Congress is about sharing your story. 

No one is an expert in your story or can share your story better than you can. We need you. Your stories are unique and powerful! No one can tell your story the way you can.

We need you because strength comes in numbers. If patients, caregivers, and everyone impacted by colorectal cancer don’t fight for more and tell Congress how colorectal cancer has changed your life, no one else is going to do it.

Call-on Congress 2022 Deborah Cross United in Blue Strong Arm Selfie

Preparing You for Lobby Day

Our Fight CRC Advocacy Team knows that meeting with your member of Congress can be intimidating, but we are here for you every step of the way to make sure you are prepared to have a successful day on Capitol Hill. Here are just a few of the ways we will make sure your meetings are meaningful and rewarding:

1. Our team will provide advocacy training through our online platform, Mighty Networks, where we will go over:

  • Meeting your team
  • Sharing your story
  • 2023 Legislative Asks
  • Example of Lobby Day Meeting
  • Advocate Resources 

2. We will review our legislative requests for 2023, which include:

  • Asking the Department of Defense to create a Colorectal Cancer Research Program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. We need better treatment options, and this can only happen through more funding for research. 
  • Expanding the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program. Prevention and early detection play a powerful role in the fight against colorectal cancer.

3. We will host an Advocacy Training webinar a few weeks before Call-on Congress where we will go into additional detail about what you can expect during Lobby Day and you can ask questions.  

4. You will receive a mentor – a fellow advocate who has attended Call-on Congress before and can show you the ropes.

5. We will have an in-person refresher to answer any last-minute questions the day before we head to Capitol Hill! 

Jennifer Ganser and Carole Motycka

Top Reasons to Register for Call-on Congress

There are countless reasons why you should register for Call-on Congress. Here are our top 3:

1. We are back in person for Call-on Congress 2023

Meeting with members of Congress and their staff face to face to share your story makes a huge impact.   

2. You can help us continue to make significant policy change. 

We’ve had so many advocacy wins this past year. Let’s build on our momentum for more wins, more screening, more research, more treatment options, more celebrations, more hope, more life.

3. You can wish for a world without colorectal cancer. Or you can fight for one.

To overcome this disease that affects us all, we must stay united and fight for more to make colorectal cancer a national priority. Our time is now!

Colorectal cancer research remains underfunded. Without our voices, without our constant reminders, it will continue to remain so. Working together at Call-on Congress can make monumental funding and research breakthroughs. We cannot do this work alone, and we need you to join us!

First-time Call-on Congress Experiences

If you’re a first-time Call-on Congress attendee, this experience will introduce you and bond you to your Fight CRC family that you never knew you had or needed, but that you will be so happy you found. You will never want to let them go. Your tribe will support you for years to come.

JJ Singleton, stage IV colon cancer survivor attended his first Call-on Congress colorectal cancer advocacy event in March 2022, and shared his experience.

“Call-on-Congress meant so much to me from many for different reasons. I love the fact we are using our stories and experiences to show the leaders of the country why we matter, and why this disease needs attention and policy changes.

JJ Singleton in front of United in Blue and Capitol 2022 Call-on Congress Colorectal Cancer Advocacy

"It also was the first time since college that I was able to apply my knowledge from my political science degree, which made me feel proud. 

"Most important to me, Call-on Congress gave me the pride and knowledge that I’m working and helping future generations – my nephews, nieces, and beyond  – so hopefully, others won’t have to deal with the same issues in the colorectal cancer world that I’ve had to.

"I was apprehensive because I didn’t have confidence in myself or believe that me – a guy from a town of 3,000 people – was important enough or could make a difference in such a big place.

"My experience was amazing! The Fight CRC team was unbelievable, as always. The installation was breathtaking, and meeting so many people while honoring others was beyond words.

"I’m going to be there again this year, helping in even more ways and helping new people experience what I did. I can’t wait," said JJ Singleton, stage IV survivor.

Deborah Cross and Olivia Henswel ConC 2022

Another first-time Call-on Congress attendee, Deborah Cross, a stage III survivor from Georgia, was initially nervous about meeting with her members of Congress. But in the airport on her way home after meeting with her representative and senators, Deborah ran into Congressman Chuck Fleischmann from Tennessee. Deborah spoke with him about her story and shared our legislative priorities. 

“How about that?! From nervous one day, to bold the next! The power of advocacy!”

–Deborah Cross, stage III survivor

Who Can Attend Call-on Congress?

Everyone is welcome! Patients, survivors, caregivers, family, friends, researchers, and healthcare teams are all welcome.

Kids can also join! We welcome junior advocates to also share their stories with their members of Congress and to connect with other kids who have a shared experience. 

Call-on Congress is also a great way to get connected to others in the colorectal cancer community.

Register for Call-on Congress Today!

Registering for Call-on Congress by December 31, 2022, guarantees the $75 early-bird registration rate. Registration will go up to $125 starting January 1, 2023. 

Congress needs to prioritize colorectal cancer right now. Colorectal cancer research is underfunded. If we don’t fight for more funding, no one else will fight for us. 

You can help change the perspective of your members of Congress. You don’t have to imagine that you can make an impact. When you attend Call-on Congress, you will make an impact. 

"Your member of Congress puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. Don’t be intimidated. We give you the tools and prepare you. You will have an opportunity to see and hear what a meeting will look like; who you will see; who you will speak with. We even set up the Lobby Day meetings.”

Molly McDonnell, Director of Advocacy, Fight CRC

What Are You Waiting for?

Register for Call-on Congress today! Early-bird registration closes on December 31, 2022.

Besides registering for Call-on Congress, here are 5 things you can do for or at Call-on Congress:

  1. Sign up to place flags at the National Mall for the United in Blue flag installation on Sunday, March 12, 2023. 
  2. Tell your family or friends about Call-on Congress and encourage them to join you!
  3. Attend Call-on Congress to amplify your voice and story.
  4. Fight for more: more urgency, more equity, more funding. 
  5. Celebrate each other!

If you still have questions, please reach out to Olivia Henswel

We can’t wait to see you in Washington, D.C., March 13–14, 2023 (and maybe as a volunteer at United in Blue on Sunday, March 12!)

Our team is looking forward to celebrating so many more advocacy wins with you in 2023!

Want to be a part of our colorectal cancer advocacy team that builds the United in Blue installation? Sign up to volunteer and join us Sunday, March, 12, 2023