One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), is a collaboration of national not for profit organizations that represents millions of Americans affected by cancer. One of OVAC’s goals is to deliver a unified message to Congress and the White House on the need for increased cancer-related appropriations. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has been a part of OVAC for many years and this year forty-two LIVESTRONG supporters will head to Washington D.C. to make cancer a national priority.
This year, the coalition has identified the following issues as most important to the cancer community in the United States:
- Cancer research funding at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Funding for cancer prevention and early detection program
- Education assistance for oncology nurses
While OVAC represents dozens of national organizations that come together to address broad, systemic issues, as we are fond of saying here at the LIVESTRONG Foundation, this fight is personal.
We encourage everyone to follow the hashtag #OneVoice on Twitter on July 9 and tweet your support to these great advocates hoping to make a difference in the lives of people with cancer. Below are a few of the individuals who are making the trip to Washington to fight on behalf of the millions of people affected by cancer:
Marye Beth Herring:
2013 will be my sixth visit to Washington D. C. as a LIVESTRONG delegate. It is the hardest two days that I have ever loved. It starts with the flight into Washington on Monday morning with just enough time to make it to the afternoon training sessions, followed by a restless night’s sleep as I dream of what I want to say knowing that the entire state of Mississippi is backing me. There is a brief morning send-off, followed by traversing from the Senate buildings to the Congressional buildings multiple times based on the scheduled meeting (which is really inspiring as you pass between the Capitol, Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress). Then a flight home Tuesday evening. In spite of the hectic pace, as a cancer survivor and a registered nurse, I always return home with a sense of accomplishment knowing that my representatives have heard the impact of cancer on the lives of so many constituents.
The great thing about OVAC is that we represent 40 cancer organizations and we are all on the Hill for the same reason. This year, we will again ask for increased funding for cancer research, for programs directed toward education, prevention, and screenings for early detection, for funding of nursing research and nursing education, and for funding to get drugs from clinical trials to cancer fighters in a timely manner.
Our elected officials will have a very difficult task developing next year’s budget but we can only hope our consolidated messages touch them to put funding back into cancer research and survivorship issues.
The last time I was on Capitol Hill, I was interning as a Congressional intern. I am excited to return next week as an enthusiastic One Voice Against Cancer first-time participant and a committed life-long cancer advocate. After both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer, my interest in politics focused primarily on cancer research, funding and legislation. I have had the opportunity to work on historical legislation in Florida concerning healthcare policy and cancer patients. One Voice Against Cancer Lobby Days is a dream opportunity to carry on the legacy of those I know affected by cancer and transition from state politics to national politics. It is my goal that OVAC addresses the financial concerns and budget cuts as a result of the Sequestration when we speak with Congress. We must push for increased funding in cancer research and preventative treatment care. I look forward to OVAC and the positive impact it will have on millions of Americans!
I’m very excited to be returning to OVAC again this year and representing LIVESTRONG in this advocacy event. It is a great chance for all of the attendees to effect change at a national level. I will be sharing my story with our lawmakers and asking them to make the fight against cancer a top priority. I have been active with LIVESTRONG since 2007 but had not had the opportunity to advocate on a political level until OVAC 2012. I was very nervous about taking my story to Capitol Hill and talking with our lawmakers. But with the support and encouragement of this amazing group of volunteers, I was able to take my passion for fighting cancer and my story and share them with our decision makers. I’m looking forward to once again working with the other delegates and being brought up-to-date on the latest legislation that affects all of us in the fight. I believe this is a great opportunity for me to make the cancer fight personal for our Senators and Representatives.