East Hawaii News

Hilo Woman Goes to Nation’s Capital to Urge Cancer Support

October 2, 2015, 12:12 PM HST
* Updated October 2, 12:17 PM
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Hilo woman and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Hawai’i State Lead Ambassador Holly Ho-Chee-DuPont traveled to Washington, D.C. this week for the annual ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.

Ho-Chee-DuPont was one of about 750 cancer patients, survivors, volunteers, and staff from across the country to urge Congress to take steps towards making cancer a national priority.

On Sept. 29, Ho-Chee-DuPont met with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz to discuss the need to support an increase in federal funding for cancer research.

In addition, Ho-Chee-DuPont asked the legislators to co-sponsor legislation that would support patients’ quality of life, as well as legislation that would close a Medicare loop hold that causes surprise costs for seniors when a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy.

(Left to Right) Douglas DuPont, ACS CAN volunteer from Hilo; Mark Vasconcellos, breast cancer survivor from Honolulu; Gay Okada, ACS CAN volunteer from Kailua-Kona; and Holly Ho-Chee-Dupont, Hawaii State Lead Ambassador for ACS CAN from Hilo visit Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office on Capitol Hill. ACS CAN photo.

(Left to Right) Douglas DuPont, ACS CAN volunteer from Hilo; Mark Vasconcellos, breast cancer survivor from Honolulu; Gay Okada, ACS CAN volunteer from Kailua-Kona; and Holly Ho-Chee-Dupont, Hawaii State Lead Ambassador for ACS CAN from Hilo visit Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office on Capitol Hill. ACS CAN photo.

“This year, more than 1.6 million Americans will hear the words ‘you have cancer.’ Congress has a critical role to play in helping us reduce the number in the future. As a cancer advocate, I let Congresswoman Gabbard and Senators Hirono and Schatz know that Congress can demonstrate a commitment to the fight against cancer by increasing federal funding for cancer research, co-sponsoring patient quality of life legislation and eliminating surprise costs for seniors getting colorectal cancer screenings,” said Ho-Chee-DuPont. “Making these lifesaving policies a priority will help eliminate death and suffering from cancer.”

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Among the items Ho-Chee-DuPont and fellow volunteer asked of congress were:

  • Support a $6 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health with $1 billion of that for the National Cancer Institute over the next two years.
  • Co-sponsor legislation to improve the quality of life of cancer patients with better access to palliative care.
  • Co-sponsor the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screens Act.
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“We need a full and unwavering commitment from Congress to take action to help prevent and treat cancer,” said Ho-Chee-DuPont. “With this many lives in this country being impacts by these decisions, we can’t afford delays. We want our lawmakers to know that volunteers from Hawai’i, and from every state across the country, are counting on them to take action now.”

ACS CAN is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group affiliated with the American Cancer Society. The ACS CAN Lobby Day ended with an evening of Lights of Hope ceremony in front of the United States Capital Reflecting Pool. Thousands of lights were lit in honor of cancer survivors or in memory of a loss of life to the disease.

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