We would like to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of people from across the United States who took the time out of their busy lives to join us in Washington, DC on May 16 and 17 for the 5th annual Childhood Cancer Action Days. We know how difficult it can be, sometimes, even to find time in your busy schedule to draft an email or make a call, so we greatly appreciate the extra effort you put into helping making this year’s Action Days a resounding success!
The goal of this year’s Action Day was to collectively advocate for passage of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, which will pave the way for greater research into new and better childhood cancer treatment options and support the priorities of childhood cancer victims and survivors. More than 200 people joined together with the ACCO and other members of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer to meet with Senators and Representatives in order to encourage them to add their names to the growing list of co-sponsors. With the recent addition of Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who added his name on May 18 as a direct result of Action Days, the STAR Act now has more than 200 co-sponsors and is that much closer to finally becoming law!
Advocacy in Action: An Amazing Two Days!
Monday was dedicated to learning, and who knew learning could be so much fun! After a heart-felt introduction from Danielle Leach, Chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer and Director of Government Relations and Advocacy at St. Baldrick’s Foundation, participants received hands-on training in political advocacy from Soapbox, a consulting group dedicated to helping non-profit organizations and their constituents make their voices heard in state and local governments. We heard from childhood cancer survivors and families of childhood cancer victims about their experiences with childhood cancer and why the STAR Act is so critical to the future of the fight against this disease. The day capped off with a reception hosted by ACCO Executive Director Ruth Hoffman and Congressman Chris Van Hollan (D-MD), Co-Chair of the Childhood Cancer Caucus.
Tuesday was devoted to face-to-face advocacy! This exciting day started with a rousing send-off by two of the original sponsors of the STAR Act: Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI). Participants then split up into state-based delegations and headed out for meetings with their state representatives. We presented data and shared personal stories about the lack of research funding dedicated specifically to the development of new, less toxic treatments for childhood cancer, about the lack of knowledge about the late effects of cancer treatment suffered by nearly all childhood cancer survivors, and about the dangerous lack of access to clinical trials for childhood cancer drugs. We used these meetings to make a personal appeal to each Congressperson about just what a different their voice—and their vote—will have for children facing this devastating disease.
We Still Need YOUR Help!
Just because this year’s Action Days have ended, does not mean the time for action is past. We still need your help to push this critical bill through Congress. We ask you to look up your state’s Senators and Representatives at the official website of the #StepUp Make Childhood Cancer a National Priority campaign to find out whether they have endorsed the STAR Act:
If they have, take a minute to send an email or a tweet thanking them for supporting this critical bill and reminding them that adding their name to this vital cause is absolutely the right thing to do! The men and women who represent us in Congress often get the most attention when they don’t take action, but rarely get the recognition they deserve for stepping up. Your thanks will be appreciated!
If they have not yet added their name to the list, please contact them today and urge them to #StepUp for Kids with Cancer and support the Childhood Cancer STAR Act today!
- Send a Tweet: @(insert twitter handle) Pls support kids with cancer. Co-sign HR3381 #STARAct for #ChildhoodCancer. It will make a difference!
- Send an email or even an “old-fashioned” letter: if you’re not sure what to write, visit http://stepupforchildhoodcancer.com/take-action/ask-congress/ for suggested text.
- Make a phone call: the sponsor map noted above has office phone numbers for every Congressperson; all you need to do it pick up the phone and urge them to add their support!
The ACCO helped write the STAR Act because we believe in the critical importance of ensuring the future of ongoing efforts to develop new, more effective, and less toxic treatment options for childhood cancer. We continue to fight every day to make the STAR Act into law and bring hope and courage to childhood cancer warriors. We hope you will continue to join us in this fight…
…Because Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone!®
About the American Childhood Cancer Organization
The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO) is a non-profit charity dedicated to helping kids with cancer and their families navigate the difficult journey from cancer diagnosis through survivorship. Internationally, the ACCO is the sole US member of Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the largest patient-support organization for childhood cancer in the world. At the national level, the ACCO promotes the critical importance of ensuring continued funding into new and better treatment protocols for childhood cancer. At the grassroots level, the ACCO is focused on the children: developing and providing educational tools for families and learning resources for children in order to make the lives of children and their families easier and brighter during this difficult time. Many of our resources are available free of charge for families coping with childhood cancer.