Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of participating in BCAN’s first Hill Day. Six dedicated bladder cancer advocates representing Illinois, Alabama, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland met with their representatives to advance bladder cancer awareness. Our key platform is passing a resolution to recognize May as Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. We all know too well that little is known in the general public about the disease. Most patients are unaware until the point of diagnosis making treatment choices difficult. Symptoms are often ignored because they mimic so many other common ailments. By increasing visibility of bladder cancer, we hope to empower patients and increase early detection to save lives.
Our advocates shared their personal stories of diagnosis, survival, and loss. They spoke with passion and truth on behalf of all those in the bladder cancer community. The representatives and their aides were very receptive and we are hopeful that this is the first step in advancing our issues.
As our efforts progress, we will need the help of everyone in the BCAN community. Your story needs to be heard. In the coming months, we will rollout templates and tools that you can use to speak to your local representatives. Stay tuned for updates and ways to get involved.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to Photocure, OncoGeneX, and Endo Pharmaceuticals for supporting our Hill Day efforts. Their generosity made this event possible.
On a final note, whether the resolution passes or not, May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. BCAN will host events throughout the month including our signature “Walk for Bladder Cancer®” on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The event is held on the first Saturday with grassroots support from organizers around the country.
(L to R) Randy Layne, Michael Jones, Diane Zipursky Quale, Vanessa Hoffman, Marge Coffin, Monica Austin Cox, Brea Dodson, Robert Lipman, Mary Ann Aregood, and Monica Smith.