Guest Column: American Cancer Society’s Celebration on the Hill

I was privileged to be among a delegation of volunteers from our 16th Congressional District of Illinois who participated in the American Cancer Society’s 2006 Celebration on the Hill in Washington, D.C., a nationwide Relay for Life type of event with legislative advocacy and fund-raising goals. More than 10,000 people attended on the national mall and Capitol Hill Sept. 19 and 20, seeking to advance progress on the crusade against cancer.

My Illinois volunteer colleagues and I were graciously received by Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, and by Congressman Don Manzullo and his wife Freda, as we appealed for increased federal funding for cancer research and increased access to health care for the uninsured.

We are all humbled and grateful to have come home batting 1,000 in that these three gentlemen who represent us each thoughtfully considered and then signed the American Cancer Society’s Congressional Cancer Promise, publicly committing themselves to doing whatever they can to reduce the dreadful toll that cancer takes on our families and our nation by providing resources for prevention, early detection and treatment programs, and money for research to help find cancer’s causes and cures. If you happen to see Dick, Barack or Don, please take a moment to thank them for their important, lifesaving leadership.

In the United States, cancer strikes one out of two males and one out of three females, killing 1,500 people every day. On average, each cancer death takes away 15 years of life. When the victims are children, the disease literally steals a lifetime.

The American Cancer Society’s legions of volunteers are committed to preventing cancer and reducing its effects through research, education, advocacy and service. Please join us. Our enemy is formidable, and our task is daunting. We certainly could use your help.

Patricia Sanderson is a resident of Rockford and a volunteer with the American Cancer Society.

From the Dec. 13-19, 2006, issue

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