Advocating on Capitol Hill
I spent the last several days preparing for and participating in the Day of Action for the 2020 GO2 Lung Cancer Virtual Summit. I had the opportunity to be a Co-leader for Team Colorado. I helped prepare and organize our team of 7 with 5 lung cancer survivors including myself, and 2 lung cancer advocates from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), which is headquartered in Aurora, CO, just outside of Denver.
Yesterday was our Day of Action. If we were able to travel to Washington, D.C., it would have been the day hundreds of lung cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates stormed Capitol Hill to attend a day's worth of meetings in our Senate and House representatives' DC offices in-person.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of Washington, D.C. and our whole lives. But an idea that has come up more than once is, "Lung cancer doesn't stop for COVID-19 and neither does the need for more research." It can't stop lung cancer advocates either. We prepared for our meetings via Zoom and held our congressional meetings virtually by telephone conference calls to our DC contacts on Capitol Hill.
I will never say it's easy to attend these meetings in-person or by phone to ask for $20 million dollars. But as I approach the end of FDA approved targeted therapies and I don't know if there will be a proven treatment option available to me, the ask for funding to increase lung cancer research is more of a plea than a simple question. It also helps the argument when your teamed up with five others in the same predicament.
The lung cancer community has been given the opportunity to educate Congress about lung cancer and to ask them to restore the Congressionally Directed Lung Cancer Research Program administered by the Dept of Defense to its original allocated amount of $20M in the FY 2009 Appropriations Bill. The program is currently underfunded at $14M.
|In my home office aka sewing room on the Day of Action|
GO2 set up an easy way to meet with members of Congress from our own homes without having to do anything more than practice our elevator pitch and share our personal stories about our connection to lung cancer. No travel expenses, no risk of coronavirus. What an amazing opportunity. Yet, compared to the size of the lung cancer community, there was only a handful of survivors, caregivers and industry members that participated.
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Click on the screenshot below for my latest lungcancer.net article.