WESTFIELD, NJ — The same tenacity Tami Eagle Bowling took to her fight with stage IV breast cancer, she is taking to advocacy in support of cures for the disease — something elected officials throughout the state are joining her in support of.
Bowling, a Scotch Plains resident and volunteer for METAvivors of NJ, a nonprofit advocating for cancer research to benefit people with metastatic or advanced cancer has caught the attention of dozens of officials in New Jersey, who are adopting measures in support of the METAvivors efforts.
“Informing and educating the public is the most important step to understanding why more funds are needed,” said Bowling, 45, speaking in support of research to benefit patients with stage IV breast cancer. “It is a true statistic that 30% of early-stage breast cancers become stage IV, yet only 5% of breast cancer research funding is going to treat metastatic research, and that needs to change.”
At the Westfield council session May 7, where Mayor Shelley Brindle issued a proclamation in support of the METAvivors of NJ, Bowling cited the statistics from the national nonprofit, which leads advocacy in support of extending the lives of patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Bowling also discussed the need at a freeholder meeting in Elizabeth this month and anticipates doing so in more places, where elected officials are issuing proclamations in support of the METAvivors of NJ.
METAvivors of NJ, which recently formed a Facebook Group, has gained the support of elected officials in Scotch Plains, Summit, Garwood, Cranford and Marlboro, among others, Bowling said. The Fanwood Borough Council is anticipated to adopt a measure on May 20.
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The proclamations cite a METAvivors analysis, which found inadequate funding for late-stage breast cancer research, something the nonprofit has been tracking since a comprehensive analysis it conducted in 2013, said METAvivor Research and Support Executive Director Sonya Negley on Friday.
The nonprofit reviews what grants are given in support of the research annually and has found the need is still vast, Negley told TAPinto Westfield. The efforts of volunteers, including Bowling, are a key part of the group’s advocacy, said Negley, who heads up the Maryland-based national nonprofit.
“We are very thankful that she is raising awareness of metastatic breast cancer, and we are thankful to the leadership for recognizing that metastatic breast cancer deserves more attention and funds for research,” Negley said.
The Scotch Plains Township Council, which last year lost Councilwoman Rose Checchio to breast cancer, matched the proclamation Brindle presented in Westfield May 7 with one of its own that same evening. The measure states that about 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, making it the leading cause of death among women in the United States.
The proclamation notes that National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Sunday, Mother’s Day and encourages residents to join the national effort toward awareness of metastatic breast cancer and the need for more dedicated research funding for it.
It points to the hashtags in support of the cause #DontIgnoreStageIV and #FindYourHealth.
“It’s not an easy diagnosis,” Bowling said. “And every day we are praying for more research.”
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Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh