Marlene Sincaglia of Berkeley Heights represented the 7th Congressional District at the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network 's annual Summit and Lobby Days in Washington DC.  The Cancer Action Network is the grassroots lobbying arm of the American Cancer Society.  The aim of the organization is to fight for adequate funding for cancer research as well as enacting  into law bills that will help cancer patients. There were over 600 people from all 50 states wearing blue shirts and going up to the Capitol to speak to their senators and congress people.

Sincaglia had the opportunity to speak to Senator Menendez's Counsel, Swarna Vallurupalli, Senator Booker's Legislative Aide, Juan Gomez and Congressman Malinowski's Legislative Director Eliza Ramirez. She urged them to convey the urgency of keeping the rate of cancer research money at the level in the  tentative  fiscal year 2020 budget.  This means $41.6 billion for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health including $6.5 for the National Cancer Institute. Sincaglia thanked Senator Booker and Congressman Malinowski for co-sponsoring the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. This bill will allow patients to receive coordinated, comprehensive care from a team of professionals to improve their treatment and quality of life. She also thanked Senator Menendez as well as Senator Booker and Congressman Malinowski for co-sponsoring a bill that would remove barriers to colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Screening for colorectal cancer saves lives. However, if polyps are found and removed during the screening and the patient only has Medicare, the patient can wake up to a surprise bill of $350 or more. 

Sincaglia asked her respresentatives to support the SAFE KIDS ACT to stop appealing flavors in E-cigarettes including mint and menthol. Tobacco products are the number one preventable cause of premature death.  Preventing youth tobacco use is one of the most important public health actions we can take to save lives. The staff to whom she spoke were positive about the Cancer Action Network's mission.

On Tuesday evening, the Lights of Hope Ceremony was held on the steps of the Lincoln memorial.  40,000 Luminaria bags lined the reflecting pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. Each bag is donated in memory of a loved one who lost his/her battle with Cancer or in support/honor of a loved love who is going through his/her journey.  The crowd heard stories from a survivor from California and several congress people.  Buddy Carter (R-Georgia), a pharmacist, is the co-chair of the Cancer Caucus and Debbie Wasserman Shultz(D-Florida) is a breast cancer survivor.  Many of the speakers took Dr. Martin Luther's King's famous quote when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial and paraphrased it to "I have a dream that one day we will cure cancer."  For more information go to ACSCAN.ORG