With all of the elections across the country and with the Presidential election in full swing, you might be asking yourself, where do my issues fit in? Who is speaking for me?
LLS ensures that blood cancer patients and their families are heard in the halls of the Capitol Building – no matter who won the most recent election. One of our main mission components is advocacy, and bringing your voices and the voices of the blood cancer community from across the country to Washington, D.C. is a critical component to our advocacy work.
Last week, our Patient Services Community Outreach Manager, Kayley Harrington, and our lead advocacy volunteer, Leslie Goodge (who is also a lymphoma survivor), participated in an annual Delegates Summit with hundreds of survivors, family members and other LLS staff.
Here’s a first-hand report from Kayley about what they learned and did:
We sat at tables assigned by state. California took up two whole tables – a strong delegation! We learned about the legislative process and three key issues:
1) The Cures Acceleration Network is an exciting program in the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (which is part of the National Institute of Health). It funds cancer research, with a focus on closing the gap between academic research and drug development, basically wanting to get cures to patients faster.
2) Stopping drug shortages through increasing the FDA’s authority to respond to potential
shortages before they affect patients.
3) Creating cost parity between oral and IV chemotherapy because right now many of the oral chemotherapies are cost prohibitive to patients, and we want to ensure patients have access to the best treatments available.
We went to Capitol Hill! The California delegation met with staff from Senator Boxer’s and Senator Feinstein’s offices. We then met with staff from two of our local representatives – Representative Lee and Representative Woolsey. We thanked them for their past support and asked them to support these current topics. All of the volunteers did amazing work and shared their stories, giving the staff a personal perspective on the importance of these issues.
Want to become an advocate or learn more? Join the LLS Advocacy Network here: www.lls.org/waystohelp/advocate.