This June, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day – and more than a decade of advocacy successes! Advocacy Day is the largest single national gathering of people committed to fighting pancreatic cancer. Hundreds of passionate supporters from across the country—both returning and first-time attendees—descend upon Capitol Hill each year to participate in this powerful two-day event.
Why is Advocacy Day such an important event, and what impact does advocacy have in the fight against pancreatic cancer? Here are 10 must-know facts about advocacy and why your voice matters at Advocacy Day.
1. 80% of all pancreatic cancer research funding comes from the federal government.
It’s simple: Federal funding for cancer research equals more pancreatic cancer researchers in the field, which equals better outcomes for patients. That’s why we must continue telling Congress that federal research funding is not just numbers but a matter of people’s lives.
2. Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a survival rate in the single digits.
The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer currently sits at a meager 9 percent, but we know by working together, we can change this statistic. We need more funding, more awareness and more people talking about this disease. Every voice matters!
3. When you speak, Congress listens – and change happens.
During the last 10 Advocacy Days, our advocates have stood tall and helped pass critical legislature that supports pancreatic cancer research. Among our many successes: Helping to secure a $2 billion increase in funding, the largest in the last decade, for the National Institutes of Health in FY2016. And that’s just one of many things we have accomplished together through advocacy.
4. Anyone can be an advocate for pancreatic cancer research.
No experience is necessary! Anyone who is willing to take quick action or share their story can become an advocate by simply writing, calling or meeting with their members of Congress. At Advocacy Day, we provide all the training, tools and resources you need to meet with your member of Congress. We even offer child-friendly breakout sessions for our youngest advocates, ages 6 to 12.
5. Advocacy provides a platform for survivors to tell their story.
(And, Advocacy Day is the largest national gathering of pancreatic cancer survivors in the United States.)
There is nothing more inspiring than hearing a survivor tell their story. Pancreatic cancer survivors are why we Wage Hope, and their participation at Advocacy Day is vital to helping illustrate why we need more support for this disease.
Survivors help spread hope and awareness to our cause. To honor these incredible champions, patients/survivors are offered free registration and are invited to a special Survivor Breakfast during Advocacy Day 2017!
6. Meeting with your members of Congress is the most powerful way to bring about change.
While calls, emails and letters to Congress help reinforce our message, there is nothing more powerful than sitting down in the office of your senator or representative and sharing in person what pancreatic cancer research means to you. This is the most impactful way to ensure we have the federal funding necessary to create better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.
7. Advocacy brings together the most passionate, influential members of the pancreatic cancer community.
Every year, thousands of advocates take action and raise their voice for a common cause. At Advocacy Day, you will meet other members of the pancreatic cancer community, who, just like you, have been touched by this disease. You’ll share stories, network and be inspired by survivors, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers and advocates who have stepped up for the same reason you have: to rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer.
8. Advocacy Day is a hands-on learning experience.
During Advocacy Day, you will receive comprehensive advocacy training on how to make the most impact during your group meetings with Congress—straight from Washington, D.C., professionals! Learn how to tell your story and educate Congress on the urgent need for increased funding for cancer research, receive talking points and even roleplay so you’re ready to go when you sit down with your senator or representative.
9. Advocacy Day is about more than just advocacy.
At Advocacy Day, you will have the opportunity to attend meaningful breakout sessions on key topics of your interest. You’ll listen to top researchers in the field, learn about the latest in pancreatic cancer research, hear first-hand about patient services and treatment options and leave empowered to take the fight against pancreatic cancer back to your local community!
10. Advocates Wage Hope and inspire change.
At Advocacy Day, you’ll build relationships with your elected officials and other passionate members of the pancreatic cancer community. But you’ll also inspire your friends and family back home to join the movement. By taking part in Advocacy Day, you’ll help represent your district and motivate your community to Wage Hope. We need as many as people as possible to join us in telling Congress that the nation is counting on them to increase funding for life-saving cancer research. By taking part in Advocacy Day, you move the needle nationally and within your community.
Are you ready to join us? Step Up. Stand Tall. Act Boldly. Be an advocate in the fight against pancreatic cancer! Registration for Advocacy Day is open until May 5, 2017. Space is limited, so reserve your spot and join our growing purple movement today. Discover the power of Advocacy Day, and register now.