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Locals head to DC for cancer crusade

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ashland residents Karen Horowitz and Michaela "Micki" Eldridge were recently selected as Ambassadors to represent their community at Celebration on the Hill 2006, a nationwide event to be held in Washington, D.C., Sept. 19-20, that will engage Members of Congress in the fight against cancer. In this role, Horowitz and Eldridge will be among 10,000 fellow Celebration Ambassadors, cancer survivors and volunteers from every congressional district in the country at the event, which is being hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM. The American Cancer Society is the nation's leading voluntary health organization.

Horowitz, a two-time breast cancer survivor who also lost her father to lung cancer, has lived through the suffering, both physical and emotional, caused by a cancer diagnosis. Karen is a longtime American Cancer Society volunteer, who participates in numerous events and programs, such as Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Road to Recovery. Karen takes her Ambassador role very seriously and says "it is very important for me to advocate for funds that will help not only eradicate cancer but will lessen the impact it takes on people's lives."

Eldridge, a five-year breast cancer survivor, also knows how hard it is to go through a cancer diagnosis. Eldridge, who has been involved with the American Cancer Society since shortly after her diagnosis, wants others to know what she has been through and learn from her experiences. Micki feels her story will help others who have been touched by cancer by teaching them to "network and learn together about new procedures, new medicines, new machinery. Oncology was not a word I had heard before my bout 5 years ago and definitely should have. We survivors are our HOPE that cancer will be eliminated by 2015."

During the event, they will meet with lawmakers to demand that Congress make cancer a national priority by boosting the federal commitment to cancer research and programs. Participants will also converge upon the National Mall to share stories about how their lives have been touched by cancer. Celebration Ambassadors are community leaders, survivors, caregivers, health professionals, cancer researchers and volunteers who believe that defeating cancer will require courageous policy decisions by government officials at the federal, state and local levels. For further information, visit acscan.org/celebration.

"Cancer is the most feared disease in America. We want our Members of Congress to know that this fear is felt in every corner of Massachusetts," said Anne Kelly Contini, Society Senior Vice President for Massachusetts.

"In 2006, an estimated 1,399,790 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 564,830 will die from the disease. In our state alone, we will see an estimated 33,310 new cases and 13, 440 deaths. Karen and Micki know the personal side of these statistics. We are honored that they will be carrying our message about making cancer funding a national priority to Members of Congress." [continue]

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Locals head to DC for cancer crusade

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Celebration on the Hill celebrates cancer survivorship and empowers Society volunteers to become a powerful force in the fight against cancer. This year's event will educate the public about cancer, commemorate those who have passed away from cancer, engage Members of Congress in the fight against cancer and honor state policy changes that have advanced the Society's mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.

The federal government plays a critical role in reducing the cancer burden on this country. In December, Congress passed legislation that cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health for the first time in 35 years and reduced funding for cancer research for the first time in a decade. Ambassadors will work to restore and increase federal funding for lifesaving cancer research and programs at the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition, Ambassadors will work to reduce cancer's disproportionate burden on the underserved by asking Congress to reauthorize and expand the CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. By reauthorizing the program, states will have more flexibility to reach eligible women who are most in need. Increasing funding by just $45 million would enable the program to serve an additional 130,000 or more women.

First held in 2002, Celebration on the Hill is being organized under the auspices of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). ACS CAN is the Society's nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy sister organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer.

Celebration on the Hill 2006 will harness the grassroots power found in 4,750 communities across the country that host Relay For Life events. Relay is a unique overnight activity that offers everyone in a community an opportunity to take part in the fight against cancer. Relay For Life participants organize teams to walk, run or otherwise move around a track to demonstrate their resolve to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem.

The American Cancer Society is partnering with ACS CAN, its sister advocacy organization, to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across America. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. ACS CAN uses voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC).

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