“It’s important to be an advocate. I feel like I am able to change mindsets, raise awareness and raise research funding.”
-Patty Watkins, Georgia
An advocate is someone who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. There are LOTS of ways to be a lung cancer advocate—and most of them do not all require a trip to Capitol Hill. Choose from the list of action items below and ignite change today!
Share Your Story
Sharing a personal lung cancer story with your elected officials is one of the most effective and impactful ways to raise awareness and educate our nation’s leaders about lung cancer. By telling your story, you are putting a face to the disease and raising up not only your voice but the voices of all those touched by lung cancer.
Here are some tips for how to write an impactful story:
- Keep it Short: Be brief and direct. Pull out the most important aspects of your journey, such as when you were diagnosed, stage, treatment and where you are now.
- Put it in Context: What was going on in your life when you were diagnosed? How old were you? What were you looking forward to? Personal details make your story more relatable to your audience and paint a picture for them.
- Include a Photo: Images help some visualize a story and thus bringing about more empathy and compassion. Include a photo of you, you and your family, you and your pet, etc.
- Key Learnings: Offer a sentence or two about what you have learned on your journey. What advice would you offer someone newly diagnosed with the disease?
Send a Letter to Your Local Newspaper
Share your story with your local newspaper. To find out how to submit your letter, either search their website online or give them a call (you can find a contact phone number on your daily newspaper). Normally they will ask you to email it or fill out a form.
Here’s a sample letter to get you started.
Send a Message to Congress
We’ve made it easy for you to tell your story and put a face to the disease. Use our online platform to send a personalized pre-written message directly to your Senator or Congressman via email, tweet or snail mail. Click here to make it happen!
“It is important that my elected officials knows the impact that lung cancer has on my family. It is a very real story, and told with sincerity and passion, it can deeply impact how our leaders view this disease. It is not just another faceless story.”
-Bill Schrul, New Jersey
Advocate from Home
Arrange a meeting with your Members of Congress in the District Office – it is much easier than you think! Here are five simple steps to make it happen:
- Find Your Representative: To identify your two Senators and House Representative:
- Call US Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
- Go to House of Representatives website
- Go to the Senate website
**Be sure to find their contact information for their District/State Office.**
- Request a Meeting: Your elected official’s phone number and email address are public information, so call or send them a note asking to schedule a meeting. Include details about why you want to meet and what issues you would like to discuss. Be patient (as they tend to be busy), but also be persistent. Don’t hesitate to follow up a couple times if they don’t reply.
- Prepare for the Meeting: Get to know your elected official by checking out his or her website, social media channels and recent news articles. Even if they do not have a direct connection to lung cancer, you might find yours has a particular interest in health, research or women/family issues. The key is to share your personal story about lung cancer and its impact on you.
- Be Flexible & Accommodating: Remember that there is a chance you may end up meeting with a staff member and not with your elected official. The staff are just as important and deserve the same respect. Their job is to share your message with your Senator or Representative, and you never know whether a staffer has a personal connection to the disease.
- Conclude with Thanks and Follow Up: After you return from your meeting, send an email or a handwritten letter thanking everyone for their time. Don’t forget to repeat your story and highlight the issues you spoke about during the meeting with an expectation of support.
Can’t make it for an in-person meeting? No worries! You can share your story and let your elected official know what issues matter most to you through a letter, email or even a tweet. Click here to learn more!
Tell Your Story on Capitol Hill
Join us for our annual National Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C. Connect with advocates, survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals, learn the latest in lung cancer research and get advocacy training on how to share your personal story in the most impactful way. You will be empowered by knowledge. You will be inspired to answer the call to action using your powerful voice in meetings on Capitol Hill. And you will be strengthened by community action to shape policy and advance the promise of patient-centered care for lung cancer patients, survivors and those at-risk.
- Get an Overview on the Legislative Process on Congress.Gov
- How to have a successful meeting with your elected officials-Video presentation by Holland & Knight with NAEMT.
- Learn more about Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act
Questions? Contact our health policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.