Make Cancer Research a Priority

Today is Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)’s National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day.  Its goal is to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer and the critical need for increased federal research funding.  Pancreatic cancer is the country’s third leading cause of cancer deaths, yet has only a 9% survival rate.  As many of you know, this is an issue that hits very close to home for me.  As such, I hope you will join me today in calling for members of Congress to take action and support funding for research of the disease.

While I cannot be in DC myself to join PanCAN, I have asked the organization to deliver the following letter on my behalf to my Louisiana Senators Kennedy and Cassidy, Seattle Senators Cantwell and Murray, and Seattle Representatives Smith and Jayapal.

Dear Member of Congress,

I am a proud and lifelong resident of Covington, Louisiana. As an All-Sun Belt Conference selection for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns and a current member of the National Football League’s (NFL) Seattle Seahawks, I appreciate the position individuals like yourself have to better lives within our community.

While my employment obligations do not allow me to visit your office in-person for National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day, I hope this letter will relay my call for bold action and increased federal funding for pancreatic cancer research. Because of this, I’ve partnered the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), the national organization driving research progress for our nation’s toughest cancer, to help deliver my message.

Currently, pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., yet – of the major cancers – it has the lowest survival rate. Unfortunately, I know this first-hand.

At the age of 15, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer. The effect of his passing weighed heavily on my life and my family. Being able to support my mother, sister and niece was a primary factor in my transferring from the University of Arkansas (where I was an SEC All-Freshman team honoree) to University of Louisiana at Lafayette. While I play every down and every game for my father, now that I have a platform, I realize there is more I can do to honor his life and legacy by building awareness and helping patients and their families cope.

I would like to find a time – our schedules permitting – when we can meet at your district office and discuss ways to take strides on both the local and national level to help. In the meantime, I hope that you will support federal funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to $6 billion


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