Lobby Day 2011
The Advocacy Alliance of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® uses the power of activism to achieve important legislative objectives at federal, state and local levels. Three women from the Greater Cincinnati Affiliate put that activism into practice as they joined Komen Advocates from all over the country to spend the day on Capitol Hill lobbying their legislators.
On April 14, 2011, Peggy Isenogle, Executive Director, and Amy Weber, Community Health Programs Manager, of the Komen Greater Cincinnati Affiliate, along with volunteer advocate, Linda Croucher, spent the day on Capitol Hill lobbying legislators that serve the regions covered by the Cincinnati Affiliate. This includes districts in the Greater Cincinnati, Greater Dayton, Southeastern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky areas.
The first issue was to educate our Members of Congress on the importance of early detection. In the last three decades, the overall survival rate for breast cancer has increased from 74 percent to 98 percent. This is due, in part, to improved patient education and increased access to screening. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) has been instrumental in those improvements. Since its inception twenty years ago, NBCCEDP has served 3.7 million women through breast and cervical cancer screenings. These are provided to women by clinics and providers that have been awarded government funds to provide breast and cervical screenings and follow-up care for women who are uninsured and underinsured.
As part of our lobbying efforts, we requested our Members of Congress to preserve the NBCCEDP, which currently receives $215 million from the federal government. They were asked to show their support by signing a Congressional Resolution affirming their commitment to women’s breast health services by preserving NBCCEDP. Preservation of this program would provide level funding of $215 million. These dollars, provided through grants, along with the grants that are provided by the local Komen Affiliates, would insure that all women have the opportunity to be screened, and therefore possibly detected with breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage.
In addition to the request for level funding for the NBCCEDP, we asked our Members to support the reauthorization of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp (SB384; H466). This is a stamp that was first issued in 1998 and has raised $72 million for breast cancer research. The stamp is sold for 55 cents, for a 44 cent valued first-class stamp. The remaining 11 cents from each stamp is dedicated to breast cancer research, with 70 percent of the funds being directed to breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, and 30 percent being directed to the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Reauthorization is needed by Congress to continue to make this stamp available past the end of 2011.
Peggy, Amy, and Linda visited ten legislative members and their staff representing Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. In our role as advocates, we met with both members of the Senate and House of Representatives to bring these important issues to their attention and maintain funding for breast health services and research.
A special thanks to volunteer advocate, Linda Croucher for sharing the important work being done by The Advocacy Alliance of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.