New legislators agree to co-sponsor the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act
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A Message from the President and CEO

Our guest columnist for this issue is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who, along with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), is serving as a lead co-sponsor of the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. Here, he shares his thoughts about the 2011 Advocacy Day and the importance of such efforts in ensuring passage of the bill.

Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA
President and CEO
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Dear Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Friends:

If you were on Capitol Hill on June 14, you probably felt as inspired as I did when I saw hundreds of purple-clad supporters representing the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network making their way from meeting to meeting with their Members of Congress as part of Advocacy Day 2011.

Seeing those who were there advocating on behalf of loved ones was especially meaningful for me. I remember the call I received from my mother who told me that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But the call that I had with my doctor about my mom's diagnosis stands out even more vividly in my mind.

After a long pause, all he could say was "I am sorry." This told me all I needed to know about the seriousness of my mother's diagnosis. In an effort to support others with the disease and to give hope to family members who have had similar experiences, I am proud to be the lead Senate sponsor of the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act (S. 362/H.R. 733), legislation that would authorize the National Cancer Institute to develop a strategic plan to fight this devastating disease.

Twelve of my colleagues responded to the message you brought to Capitol Hill on June 14 by co-sponsoring S. 362. This is an incredible success, and your advocacy efforts were the key to getting these Senators on board. However, we still face considerable challenges in moving the bill forward in Congress. We must continue to work together to remind the Members of Congress in both the Senate and the House who have not yet signed on about the urgency of our cause.

As advocates, you play a key role in generating support and educating Members of Congress about how important this legislation is to you and your family and friends. One of the most important things you can do is to remain engaged and keep the pressure on until our goal is realized.

I am amazed at how far we have come so far, thanks to your efforts. I am grateful for all of your support on S. 362/H.R. 733, and I am proud to stand with you as we all join to know it, fight it, and end it.

I hope you will share your story about pancreatic cancer with me at

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator (D-RI)

P.S. Please stay in touch on Twitter @SenWhitehouse and


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Pancreas Matters/ July 2011/ Advocacy Day Success