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While recuperating from surgery #2, I thought it was time to take my lung cancer diagnosis seriously and do some research. The more I learned, the more disappointed, angry, and frightened I became. It was apparent that research funding for lung cancer, responsible for 26% of all cancer deaths; was appallingly inadequate. I needed an explanation. I wanted solutions.

That is why I attended the National Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC; I knew our government held the key to improved outcomes. Armed with the NIH budget and other data to support the glaring discrepancies in research funding, I was quickly nick-named “Stat Lady”; bound, bent and determined to get my hands on that key!
To this pragmatic person, my introduction to government advocacy was eye-opening and very unsettling. BUT I listened and learned; then VOWED to be an active part in this VERY political process until our goals are reached. LIVES depend on our work.
What I learned:

  • Our federal government funds MORE medical research than ANY other source. The 2019 NIH budget is $39 BILLION.
  • Congress is as ignorant about lung cancer as I was, they need to be educated.
  • Congressional Representatives respond to constituents, they want to keep their jobs.
  • It takes a coordinated, unified effort to influence Congress.
  • It takes continuous behind the scenes, strategic “moves” reinforcing our efforts.
  • Endurance and flexibility are required to effectively move our initiatives forward.

We NEED EVERY VOICE! It’s all about numbers, more advocates, more votes; elected officials respond to VOTES. That is why we need anyone who has ever been impacted by lung cancer to become an advocate. We also need everyone to PLEASE use the Voter Voice platform to make their voice heard. Voter Voice tracks numbers, our strength. This data is critical to reinforce ongoing, behind the scenes efforts which move our initiatives forward!
We NEED advocates from EVERY STATE! We NEED them on Capitol Hill, from July 22 – July 23rd at the National Advocacy Summit to INSIST our critical, LUNG CANCER specific initiatives PASS:

Come take the “Hill” with me! Register now for the only event of its kind! Together, we will continue to educate, inform, and ensure our initiatives are moving forward. We HAVE to; LIVES depend on our COLLECTIVE ADVOCACY work!

Deena Cook
Patient Advocate & Survivor aka “Stat Lady”
PS – A handful of scholarships for survivors to attend the Summit are still available but please act quickly!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Alisa moderator
    6 months ago

    Thank you for this article. I am attending this year for the first time and am very honored and excited to be a part of it! Alisa, Team

  • Deena Cook moderator author
    6 months ago

    Look forward to meeting you Alisa! So glad you will be “taking the Hill!” See you in July….Deena

  • Alisa moderator
    6 months ago

    Same here, Deena!

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