Storming The Hill
In 2017, I went to the U.S capitol to “storm the hill”. Lung cancer alliance (now combined with the Bonnie Addario Foundation and called Go2 Foundation) hosted the event. I flew from Chicago during the week and participated in the two-day event. I chose to participate in this event because I am dedicated to different types of lung cancer advocacy. I feel that it is important for me to tell my story as a young adult living with lung cancer. I had already participated in the Hope Summit by Lungevity, the breathe deep walks also by Lungevity, and one on one advocating. This was different because I would get to tell my story in front of our representatives to hopefully make a change in lung cancer funding.
Advocating for lung cancer awareness with officials
On the first day, we met as a group and discussed what it was that we were going to be asking for the representatives. We broke out into groups per state. I was lucky enough to be a part of a three-person team for Illinois. We were given light refreshments and got to take pictures with other lung cancer advocates.
On the second day, we were bussed to the capital where we heard from U.S Representative Rick Nolan. It was nice to hear his story and how he had personal ties to the lung cancer community. He is and was a strong advocate for us.
Using my voice for awareness
After that, we split up into our groups by state. We had 4 meetings scheduled and we were going to meet with the staffers from the representatives’ offices. We spoke ahead of time on how we were going to divide our time so that each of us could speak. I am quiet but often say that I will talk to anyone that will listen about lung cancer. We asked for support for the women and lung cancer bill as well as requested more funding for lung cancer research.
We found that the staffers were very receptive to our ask, and we were told to follow up with them after a few weeks.
Virtually storming the hill in 2020
In 2020, I participated in this same event but virtually. Due to the pandemic in 2020, the event was not able to be held in person. I was happy to take a few minutes out of my day to share my story. I was a part of a team of about 6 this time and we shared our stories and asked for Congress to reinstate lung cancer research funding to the previously promised amount. We had one person who was the team lead, and she directed the conversation as needed. We each shared our personal stories about lung cancer and made our requests.
Do you want to join the storm?
This was my experience with advocating on the “hill” for more funding for lung cancer. I am happy that I was able to participate and plan to go back again post-pandemic once everything opens back up.
There are multiple ways to advocate for lung cancer and this is just one of the ways. Please check out Go2Foundation for information on future events.
Have you experienced insurance obstacles in your lung cancer journey?