In 2017, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) advocates raised their voice and moved the needle toward our goal of doubling survival by 2020. The work of PanCAN advocates in urging Congress to make cancer research a priority is crucial because approximately 80 percent of pancreatic cancer research funding comes from the federal government. A more robust pancreatic cancer research field and increased federal funding will lead to greater progress and more scientific breakthroughs in the fight against the world’s toughest cancer.
Here are the top five highlights of an extraordinary year of grassroots advocacy:
- 10th Anniversary of National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day
A gallery of photos shows the historic participation on Capitol Hill of over 600 attendees including nearly 100 survivors, the highest turnout ever of survivors at Advocacy Day. Through this impactful event, more than 360 face-to-face meetings with legislators, plus 6,000 messages and 2,500 calls from our advocates, sent a strong and unified message to Congress that resonated throughout the rest of the year.
- Research Funding Protected Through Advocacy
Advocates sent nearly 19,000 messages to Congress to build bipartisan support for medical research funding at the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD has funded important pancreatic cancer research grants through its Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program since 2011, and due to our advocates’ actions, pancreatic cancer was once again included as a disease eligible for funding.
- Major Increase in Cancer Research Funding
The pancreatic cancer community responded in record force to urge Congress to reject proposed cuts to cancer research funding for FY18. Thanks to the thousands who took action, Capitol Hill continued to show its commitment to investing in a healthy America by renewing its strong bipartisan support for research funding. Congress approved the second $2 billion increase in a row for the NIH in FY17. Plus, $60 million in funding was approved for the DoD’s Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program, a $10 million increase over the previous fiscal year.
- Congress and the Nation Go Purple for World Pancreatic Cancer Day
56 members of Congress responded to over 3,000 supporters who asked their elected officials to wear purple on Nov. 17, World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Here is a recap of some of the most memorable media highlights from the day.
- PanCAN Advocates Sent Over 85,000 Messages to Congress
Through the phone calls, meetings and messages sent by our advocates, Congress ensured that federally funded research not only continued, but also increased. The persistence and perseverance of our grassroots army throughout the year kept pancreatic cancer issues at the forefront on Capitol Hill to save more lives by prioritizing cancer research funding.