The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Letter to Editor

To the Editor

On September 19 and 20, I will join thousands of other cancer advocates in Washington, D.C. for the Celebration On The Hill, a ground breaking event of the American Cancer Society's (ACS) Cancer Action Network, The ACS' sister advocacy organization.

Celebration On The Hill will celebrate cancer survivorship and send a strong message to elected officials that cancer must be made a national policy priority.

This year an estimated 565,000 people nationwide will die from cancer, including approximately 26,000 people in Illinois.

Despite these alarming statistics, Congress cut funding last year for cancer research at the National Cancer Institute for the first time in more than a decade, and this year Congressional leaders are threatening additional funding cuts.

As one of 152 ambassadors from Illinois, I will meet with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation to urge them to demonstrate a commitment to elevating cancer on the national policy agenda.

I will encourage lawmakers to sign the Congressional Cancer Promise which details specific legislative actions that are required to put us back on track toward defeating the disease.

Last year, 92 U.S. Senators and 280 U.S. Representatives signed a letter to the President in support of the national challenge goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by the year 2015.

Lawmakers must now commit to making the policy decisions necessary to meet that goal, including expanding prevention and detection programs that increase survival rates, boosting medical research funding and ensuring that all Americans have access to all the latest tools for treating cancer.

I look forward to joining the thousands of cancer patients, survivors, advocates, and their friends and families who will participate in Celebration On The Hill.

When I lost family members and friends to cancer, I promised to do everything that I could to defeat this disease. I will be asking members of the Illinois Congressional delegation to do the same.

Sandra Lefler,
Celebration On The Hill