Marble floors leading to door after door of our congressional members.
Each door flanked by a set of flags.
The clickety clacking of heels up and down corridors.
Inside these doors and sometimes in the hallway we spoke our ask.
Doubling of cancer research funding and other financial requests are asked for.
The personal story of….
…a Vietnam vet whose prostate cancer has come back after 10 years of remission and now is in treatment again. He is convinced his illness comes from agent orange exposure.
….a daughter whose father is a 23 year survivor while also experiencing the loss of her mother-in-law who battled for 16 years.
I tell the story of Anna.
A woman possessing a survivor spirit.
For two years after the doctors told her they could do nothing she sought out ways to heal herself. She searched and never complained.
She persisted against the odds.
But her body took her down a different path.
Anna died before her 4 year old son, Lukas, could grow to truly understand the strength his mother possessed.
She left this world as her 2 year old daughter, Chloe, began to form full memories of her mother to carry with her.
Anna leaves behind an amazing man who will never get to hold her again and did all he possessed to keep her alive.
I told these people who make decisions affecting all our lives of Anna. I told them she may still be with us if cancer funding had not been cut over the last eight years.
I told them how the cancer rates are going in the wrong direction. Over 20 years ago when I battled this disease 1 in 9 people received this diagnosis. Now 1 in 3 women and every other man will hear the words, “you have cancer.” THIS IS CRAZY making!!!
This year I returned to “The Hill” as a representative of the Lance Armstrong Foundation once again and as part of a larger coalition of 40 cancer organizations called ‘One Voice Against Cancer.’ In years past it was the Texas flag I sought out in those halls. This year I came as a Virginian. Either way I speak on behalf of so many. I am accompanied by more faces, memories and spirits. Two plus decades of speaking for this cause and somehow I am still empowered by the act of telling their stories. When I walk the marble floors lined with flags and large wooden doors I am grateful for this opportunity to honor those who are fighting for their lives and those who no longer have a voice.
I am grateful I am ALIVE!