June 16-17, LIVESTRONG joined with our fellow members of One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a coalition of 38 cancer organizations, for a lobby day on Capitol Hill. This organization is unique, because we all go to Washington, D.C. not to ask for money for our own organizations, but to champion the funding of cancer research, navigation services, and cancer screening programs. This year was my first time leading our group of 20 LIVESTRONG Advocates. These individuals took time out of their lives to come and add their voices to our funding requests.
The first day, the LIVESTRONG team had a chance to meet with the rest of the over 100 advocates from the other partner organizations and go through a day of education and training. The following day, they attended meetings with their elected officials. As an association, we shared our requests and stories with over 150 congressmen and senators. As I sat with our advocates in meetings with their representatives, I was moved by the power of their stories and the passion with which they delivered our funding requests. Their service last week was so important because it is going to be a very difficult year for federal funding across the board. Our representatives have some tough choices to make, but I am certain that no one could ignore the stories of these survivors, caregivers, and warriors in the fight against cancer. They were able to able to convey the necessity and urgency of these requests in a way that no one else could. The following are a few quotes from some of this year’s advocates about what participating in OVAC Lobby Day means to them.
One Voice Against Cancer means two things to me. First, it’s powerful when many cancer organizations speak in unison on shared priorities. Second, each individual has an obligation to be “one voice” that makes a difference. Dare to be heard! -Scott Joy, NH
LIVESTRONG advocate, Jere Carpentier with American Cancer Society Advocate, Tim
Working with our California government officials is not only powerful, but leaves me with the feeling that they “get” what we are trying to do, as well as the importance and urgency of our needs. -Jere Carpentier, CA
LIVESTRONG Advocate Joe Schnider
OVAC is amazing to me. Anytime you can have a major collaboration of cancer organizations coming together for one goal is monumental. One Voice really is stronger and more powerful than each organization doing their own lobby day. -Joe Schneider, IL
To me OVAC is UNITY. OVAC unites LIVESTRONG advocates with each other and with other cancer advocates from across the country to rally and share one message with our members of Congress – the fight against cancer must be strengthened! -Josh Larsen, IA
I was so proud to work with all of our amazing advocates in D.C. I have high hopes for the appropriations process after our meetings, but even if we don’t get everything we asked for, we opened a dialogue. We’ll continue to visit, call, write, and raise our collective voice in the hope that one day, we’ll be able to live in a world without cancer. If you are interested in talking to your representative about the fight against cancer, join us at www.livestrongaction.org