It's not every day you get to sit down with one of your state's Senators and watch as his shiny happy demeanor suddenly shifts -- his jaw visibly drops -- as you tell him your story about being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 32, as you tell him you'd like to see an end to breast cancer so you can watch your son grow up. It's not every day you get an audience with that much influence.
But that's exactly what happened on Tuesday, as I logged another 4.5 miles walking all over Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., advocating on behalf of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, yes, but also on behalf of myself and all of us living with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. After all, NBCC's goal of seeing an end to breast cancer is the same as mine. It is all of ours. And what were a few extra blisters in the name of ending this disease? My feet this week are getting their own post. Stay tuned for that.
I don't know exactly which of the seven offices we visited from the Arizona delegation will support our legislative requests, which included signing on to the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act (H.R. 1197 / S. 746) and maintaining current funding levels for the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program, neither of which should be partisan issues, but you just never know in DC.
The Act creates a commission to take a look at the various research efforts happening around the country and recommend a way to fast-track those that are most promising while reducing duplicative efforts. It would be a finite commission, ending in 2020. It would require no congressional funding. It seems like it would be an easy ask, but amazingly, it has struggled to get signed into law.
The DoD program provides grants to people like this innovator here in Arizona, who is working on a breast cancer vaccine, among other things. Think about that for a minute. Can you imagine a world in which no one has to worry about developing breast cancer? In which generations to come might only know breast cancer as a disease their grandparents had to contend with? The idea gives me goosebumps.
We asked our delegation to co-sign the legislation before Mother's Day, as a gift to moms (and their kids) everywhere. We've already gotten notice that a few offices want to cosponsor and will be doing so today. I hope our advocacy efforts pay off and this legislation gets signed into law. I hope this commission gets formed. I really hope we see an end to this disease in my lifetime. Now that would make these blisters worth it.