TIME DISTRICT ROOM NAME
9:30 13 1740/LHOB RODNEY DAVIS
10:00 11 1224/LHOB BILL FOSTER
10:30 12 1722/LHOB WILLIAM ENYART
11:00 10 317/CHOB BRAD SCHNEIDER
Noon Senate 711/Hart DICK DURBIN
1:00 2 2419/RHOB ROBIN KELLY
1:30 17 1009/LHOB CHERI BUSTOS
2:00 Senate 524/Hart MARK KIRK
2:00 18 328/CHOB AARON SCHOCK
2:30 8 104/CHOB TAMMY DUCKWORTH
All of the state delegations convened that morning at the Reserve Officers Association Building. From there, after some coffee and last minute instructions, we headed off to our first appointment at the Longworth House Office Building (LHOB). Subsequent calls would take us to the Rayburn House Office Building (RHOB) and the Cannon House Office Building (CHOB) as well as the Hart Senate Office Building. Illana, Tamara, Shirley and I made the first call together–we then paired off for most of the remaining ones.
A cold rain drizzled down for most of the day, the perfect weather for staying home, drinking hot chocolate and watching “I Love Lucy” reruns. By the time we returned to the ROA Building for a brief lunch, my shoes were soaked and my energy was waning. As ever, Shirley remained cheerful and enthusiastic.
She did all of the heavy lifting during the appointments. She explained that we had two main priorities:
- To secure support for the “Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act” and
- To secure $150 million dollars in FY 2014 for Department of Defense peer-reviewed Breast Cancer Research Programs.
Rep. Schneider met with us personally. As expected, in all other cases we met with legislative aides. In her elevator pitch, Shirley explained that the “End of Breast Cancer Act” is one component of the larger Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 initiative. The legislation is dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer, especially the prevention of metastasis which is responsible for 90% of breast cancer deaths.
“I’m sure your constituents would applaud legislation that supports research to create a vaccine against breast cancer as well as research to find the causes of metastasis which kills women and men,” Shirley said.
Most of the people we met with nodded sympathetically and jotted a quick note or two on legal pads.
I explained my reasons for being there. “I”m doing this for young people like yourself,” I told the aides. “My mom died of metastatic inflammatory breast cancer at age 53. I’m 47 and I have been living with metastatic breast cancer for three years. I want something better for the next generation.”
Metastatic breast cancer probably seems like a distant abstraction to many of the young staffers we met with–something that probably happens to old people. “My mom died a few weeks after my high school graduation,” I told them. “She didn’t see me graduate from college. She never held her grandchildren. Can you help us make a difference?”
I hope our message reached them. A few, apparently, will require some follow-up phone calls and emails. So far, only Daniel Lipinski and Aaron Schock have co-signed the bill. As of this writing, Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider, Rodney Davis, Bill Foster and Robin Kelly haven’t signed on to House Bill 1830, Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.
You can bet I will be asking them what they’re waiting for.