By Nick Poust
For Aurmaudra Bradley, like so many others who made the trip last month to Washington, D.C., as part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Leadership Summit, meeting with Congress about prioritizing cancer research was personal. A volunteer for ASC CAN and a Westfield native, Bradley lost her mother to cancer in 2009 and has since set out to help find a cure.
“We want to give them the facts to help them understand that cancer is not part of this issue,” Bradley said. “Cancer does not care whether you are Republican or Democrat. It doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor. It doesn’t care whether you are young or old. It can affect any of us. That’s what our mission is.”
The American Cancer Society is asking Congress to increase cancer research funding by $1 billion. To help make those financial strides, Bradley and 700 cancer patients, survivors, researchers and people like herself who have lost loved ones to cancer met with state and federal representatives in Washington, D.C., to push Cancer Moonshot, an initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden, and other pieces of legislation, including the Quality of Life legislation.
“We want there to be training for doctors. (We want) hospitals and patients to know what the resources are, to put those resources in place for not just a cancer diagnosis, but any sort of chronic illness,” Bradley said of the Quality of Life initiative. “So when the patient gets that diagnosis, they are treating the entire person and not just their disease. It’s a more holistic approach. We’ve got people doing brilliant things in cancer research. I met some of them this past week, and it was amazing hearing them talk about it. We need to be the leader on this. We need to be the country that cures cancer. Once we cure cancer here, we can implement those cures globally, but we need to fix it at home first.”