PAC2 Initiative - Increase Membership of the House Pediatric Cancer Caucus

Dear PAC2,

 

In September 2010 President Carter that the political situation in DC is the most polarizing since the time of Abe Lincoln and the Civil War.  Agree or not, one can only hope that bipartisan collaboration on GOOD causes will always be GOOD politics.   In that vein, let’s provide an easy building block; something easy to get behind regardless of party:


Supporting the country’s efforts to cure childhood cancer. 


The Pediatric Cancer Caucus was launched in June 2009 by Representative Joe Sestak and Representative Michael McCaul, to:


“serve as a clearinghouse for information on pediatric cancer and a bipartisan forum to aid members of Congress in working together to address pediatric cancer.  The caucus strives to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and advocate in support of measures to prevent the pain, suffering and long-term effects of childhood cancers and ultimately eliminate cancer as a threat to all children.”


In September 2010 the Caucus facilitated the inaugural briefing to Congress which represented the largest collection of childhood cancer experts ever assembled before Congress.  In addition to the representatives mentioned in the PAC2 Report on the Pediatric Cancer Caucus - September 16, 2010 [Jim Moran (VA) and Jackie Speier (CA)] the following representatives attended:  Reps Heath Shuler (D-NC), Walter Jones, (R-NC), Howard Coble (R-NC), the current Caucus co-chair Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) plus numerous staff from the Hill.

 

The second Childhood Cancer Summit, led by the co-chairs of the Congressional Pediatric Cancer Caucus, will be a panel of pediatric cancer experts and advocates, speaking on the unique challenges of childhood cancer.  The event is on September 23, 2011 at the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) Auditorium in Washington, DC.  The event is open to the public.  For more information please visit Childhood Cancer Summit on the Children's Cause for Cancer Advocacy's website.  CCCA is working with Summit representatives to coordinate the event.

 

As of September 1, 2011 there are only 78 members of the House (the Caucus is for House members only) that have joined the Pediatric Cancer Caucus. Increasing the membership of the Caucus will aid bipartisan support for its efforts including:

 

  1. The Creating Hope Act of 2010;
  2. The Childhood Cancer Survivorship Research and Quality of Life Act;
  3. Re-authorization of the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act;
  4. Full funding of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act; and,
  5. The creation of a Childhood Cancer Study Section within the National Cancer Institute. 

PAC2 encourages you to:

  1. Identify your House Representative and contact information by clicking this link.
  2. Determine if your rep is a member of the Caucus by comparing to the Caucus membership list.
  3. If they are a member - you may want to contact them and thank them!
  4. If they are not a member - you are encouraged to contact them and briefly share that:
  • Rep. _____ is your House representative
  • You are writing/calling to encourage Rep. ______ to join the House Pediatric Cancer Caucus lead by Rep. Van Hollen and Rep. McCaul to support Congress's efforts to address childhood cancer and attend the Childhood Cancer Summit on Sept. 23 at the CVC.
  • You have personal experience with childhood cancer (share your story)
  • The efforts of the Caucus are key to stopping the #1 killer disease of children, childhood cancer
  • Membership in the Caucus can be arranged by contacting the offices of Rep. Van Hollen at (202) 225-5341 or Rep. McCaul at (202) 225-2401. 


You've been spreading awareness for three years to the world; now it's time to tell our government that it too needs to step up to the plate.  We can even see the progress of your efforts by looking at the list in a couple months! 

Thanks for all you do.
PAC2 

PS - please post below if you are planning on attending!

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Just sent Jim McDermott (Washignton State- 7th District) an e-mail. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

~kelly
In order to reach the goal of eliminating the suffering and death due to childhood cancer as stated in the TN Cancer Coalition's chapter on Childhood Cancer in the State Cancer Plan: http://health.state.tn.us/CCCP/TCCC_Plan.pdf, we have created Childhood Cancer Action Teams in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Johnson City to unify our efforts throughout the state and make a greater impact. Teams are comprised of families, medical providers, school staff, legislators, and community organizations - everyone is welcome!

The teams developed and achieved two objectives for September: 1) request that members of Congress join the Pediatric Cancer Caucus and 2) create and promote a statewide calendar of events during September.

Prior to September, four Congressmen from TN were members of the Pediatric Cancer Caucus (as a result of advocacy efforts of families that were supported by CureSearch). In order to encourage the remaining members of Congress from TN to join, first we approached the three members who are running for re-election by:
- emailing each Congressman's Health Legislative Assistant (HLA) with specifics about the Caucus and
- attaching a formal letter to the Congressman asking him/her to join.
We also included a link to the statewide calendar of events: http://tncancercoalition.org/content/september-2010-childhood-cance... (to indicate the strength of our grassroots efforts).

We then followed-up with a phone call to the HLA, to ask him/her if the Congressman planned to join the Caucus and to let them know that within a few days we would be writing Letters to the Editor of newspapers throughout the state in order to publicly thank those members who have joined and we hope to be able to add the Congressman's name to that list. In each case, the HLA responded by the next day saying the Congressman had just joined. As promised, we have sent Letters to the Editors of over 20 newspapers across TN, thanking the Congressmen for their support. In summary, 7 of 9 members of Congress from TN are now Caucus members (and we will approach the other two as soon as they are elected).

We assume this strategy will work just as well in other states, so we wanted to share it with PAC2 members. If you would like more information about activities in TN, please contact jlouis5678@aol.com.
Thank you Jennifer for sharing this information, it can serve as further guidance to advocates looking to help.

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