Making Our Voices be Heard | Dee Sparacio
“Dear Congressman Holt,
I am a constituent and an eight-year ovarian cancer survivor. I respectfully request that you continue your support of ovarian cancer research …”
This is how I began an email I recently sent to my representative in Washington, DC. In the email I asked him to sign the Fitzpatrick-DeLauro Dear Colleague Letter requesting $20 million for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program, one of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs at the Department of Defense. I sent this email using a system on the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website. In sending it I added my name to the growing list of survivors who are taking an active role in advocating for research and awareness at the national and state levels.
Over the past seven years, I have sent letters and emails to my representatives and senators asking them to support ovarian cancer research funding at the NCI and NIH. I’ve urged them to pass and fund Johanna’s Law and to proclaim September National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I have also written to my governor, state senator and assemblyman urging them to pass a state law that would require insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapy drugs as they do intravenous drugs.
I write these emails for a number of reasons. Legislators need to understand the effect gynecologic cancers have on our lives and why research is crucial to our futures. After all, the only way a screening test for ovarian cancer and better treatments protocols will be found is through research. We also can’t forget about the need to make all women aware of gynecologic cancers. And as more women live with ovarian cancer as a chronic illness we need to speak up about improving our quality of life. I write these e-mails for a selfish reason as well. If I should recur in the future I want to know that there is research taking place to develop treatments that will provide me with even more years of life.
So the next time you hear that there is a vote in Congress or at your state level regarding funding for cancer research take ten minutes of your time, write your senator or representative an email and have your voice heard.
Every day is a Blessing!