Today’s post comes to us from Thea Zajac, Greater Bay Area Community Outreach Manager.
The Greater Bay Area Chapter delegation of 8 staff and volunteers had a wonderfully successful trip to Washington, D.C. for Mission Days! Our group joined 250 staff and volunteers from LLS chapters all over the country to lobby our federal legislators on two bills that would reduce costs for oral cancer therapies (HR 460 and HR 1801).
I am so thankful and inspired by our group and their dedication to our mission of increasing cures and access for our patients. Lauren and myself were joined by Jack Aiello, Brian Sholes (from the South Bay), Jim & Marilyn Rossen (from Monterey County) as well as Kenya Wheeler and Nance Hirano (from the East Bay). Here is a recap of our brief, but action-packed time in the Capitol.
Monday was spent connecting with delegates from all the other chapters and learning about the two bills we would be lobbying support for with our Representatives and Senators. The LLS Office of Public Policy staff was superb at making the bills easy to understand as well as connecting them with all the amazing patient stories that were in the room.
On Tuesday we started off the day with an address by an inspirational speaker, Suleika Jaouad. Suleika is a 24-year-old MDS and AML survivor who writes a column for the New York Times about her cancer experience called: Life, Interrupted.
We then headed to the hill to meet with Representative’s and Senator’s offices to talk to them about the importance of increasing affordable access to life-saving treatments for our patients. Our team visited a total of 5 different offices including: Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (12-San Francisco County), Representative Barbara Lee (13-Alameda County), Representative Zoe Lofgren (19-Santa Clara County), Representative Sam Farr (20-Monterey County) as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office.
All our legislators were very receptive and genuinely engaged by the stories that our survivors and staff had to tell. I have no doubt that more co-sponsorship for these bills will come out of those visits.
Special thank yous to all our delegates for traveling across the country to raise your voice. I look forward to the day when cancer treatment is affordable and accessible for every patient. Thanks for all your hard work over the last two days, we are one step closer.