Cancer Survivor urges lawmakers to increase cancer research funding

BAYONNE – Bayonne resident Pam O’Donnell, a survivor of a very rare form of cancer who also lost her husband and one of two daughters to a tragic automobile accident at the time she was being treated, met with Senator Cory Booker, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, and an aide to Congressman Donald Payne last week to discuss the need to support an increase in federal funding for cancer research. She also asked them to advance legislation that works to improve patients’ quality of life, and to support legislation that would close a loophole in Medicare that often results in surprise costs for seniors when a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy.

Last week more than 700 cancer patients, survivors, volunteers, and staff from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district came together in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. Advocates urged Congress to take specific steps to make cancer a national priority and help end a disease that still kills more than 1,600 people a day in this country.

“This year, nearly 1.7 million Americans will hear the words ‘you have cancer,’” said O’Donnell. “Congress has a critical role to play in helping us reduce that number in the future. As a cancer survivor, I am urging Senators Booker and Menendez and Congressmen Frelinghuysen and Payne to commit to ending cancer as we know it by increasing federal funding for cancer research, supporting improvements to patient quality of life and eliminating surprise costs for seniors getting colorectal cancer screenings. Making these lifesaving policies a priority and moving them forward this year will help eliminate death and suffering from cancer.”

“We need a full and unwavering commitment from Congress to take action to help prevent and treat cancer,” O’Donnell continued. “One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Their lives may depend on the decisions made by our lawmakers today – we can’t afford further delays. We want Congress to know that volunteers from New Jersey, and from every state across the country, are counting on them to take action now.”

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