Money makes cancer research possible, and lawmakers control important funds which can be directed to cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and other agencies. That makes legislative advocacy a powerful tool for those who want to make a difference on behalf of young women affected by breast cancer.
Making Laws Work For Us
Advocates can ensure that government takes our needs into account as it shapes research through funding. As a constituent of your federal and state representatives, you bring an influential voice. The personal stories of survivors make powerful statements. When we meet legislators, we send the message that breast cancer not only affects their mothers and grandmothers but their friends, colleagues, wives, daughters, cousins, staff and interns. They realize that breast cancer can happen to any woman, regardless of age.
Each word from an informed survivor can help improve funding for breast cancer research and move us closer to eradicating this disease. You can focus your representative’s efforts on meaningful change that will make our communities and lives better and stronger.
These tips will help you make the most of your advocacy:
You can add your voice to effective efforts by joining one of many organizations working on breast cancer issues. These groups have legislative agendas that aim to improve the lives of survivors. When choosing an organization, think about the issues they promote. Ask yourself if that issue will make a significant change in the status quo for many people. Make sure you devote your time, energy and resources to the most important issues. You can usually find good data to help make an informed decision.
Since 2002, YSC has served on the board of the premiere advocacy group for breast cancer, the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). NBCC has helped make real and meaningful changes on behalf of all women affected by breast cancer. Since 1998, they have raised more than two billion dollars in federal funds to create the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, a vital center for breast cancer knowledge.
Legislatively, they succeeded in enacting the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act and played an instrumental role in the Healthcare Reform Law, ensuring that a consumer’s voice helped shape the bill. Visit the NBCC website to take part in their meaningful efforts.
These resources and tools will help you organize your advocacy:
- Find out who your representatives are at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov
- View the status of legislative bills by going to thomas.loc.gov
- Keep track of how your representatives vote by going to www.vote-smart.org or www.rollcall.com
- Visit the Library of Congress website
Legislative Contact Information
- Capitol switchboard: 202.224.3121
- The President of the United States: 202.456.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Vice President of the United States: 202.456.2326 email@example.com
- White House comments: 202.456.1111
- Register your opinion on an issue: 202.456.1111
- Whether a Bill is signed or vetoed: 202.456.2226
- Library of Congress, congressional research: 202.707.5700
- Democratic National Committee: 202.863.8000
- Republican National Committee: 202.863.8500