Making a difference


By Dan Domsic

Fishers resident Mark Cannon was recognized for being a leader while working with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network this month.

Cannon, who won his battle with a rare muscular affliction, is one of two Hoosiers to win the IN MI Heart Award from the organization, an award that recognizes nominees that “demonstrate outstanding and successful leadership in cancer-related policy at the national, state or local level,” according to a news release.

His mission as part of ACS CAN, the advocacy wing of the American Cancer Society, has taken him to the statehouse, as well as to the U.S. Congress, where he will lobby again this September for more funding for the National Institutes of Health, the country’s medical research agency that is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

“They (legislators) need to hear from people that have been directly impacted (by cancer),” Cannon said. “That’s what I found out going to Washington D.C. Not only did I realize how underfunded our cancer-research programs are, but how important it is when you sit across, face to face, from a legislator, and you tell your cancer story to them, it has more impact than 1,000 emails or flyers or anything like that. The impact the individual has is bigger than I realized.”

Cannon said he was shocked to learn the NIH only can fund about 10 percent of cancer research.

Closer to home here in Fishers, Cannon works with Relay for Life of Fishers, an awareness event.

This year’s Relay will take place on June 1, but people interested in getting involved or wanting to know more about the opportunity can visit Hearthstone Coffee House & Pub, 8235 E. 116th St., Monday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a Relay Rally.

“The work that the American Cancer Society and the ACS CAN does is really something I’m just a small part of,” Cannon said. “But I feel like just by being involved, my voice gets heard, and hopefully we’ll have an impact.”