It is easy to dream and hope that researchers will find a cure for cancer but getting there is not an easy task. We have all seen changes and improvements or the past few years but it is possible that forward movement will be significantly slowed or that promising research proposals will not be funded. This year’s budget discussion has been very difficult and some legislators have said that they are hearing from other groups more than cancer so they feel the obligation to respond in those areas rather than cancer research.  You are the only ones who can change that. People who are regularly on the hill can only go so far without grassroots support. Now is the time to email, call or fax your legislators and let them know that continuing research on cancer is important to you.  You already contacted them? Did you get a firm commitment to a specific amount that they supported?  If not they may need a reminder.

Below is wording that may help you with your message. This is the wording that is being used by a coalition of cancer and healthcare organizations in a letter going to Rep Obey so if you use these words then they will be getting a consistent message. I have reworded it to make it appropriate for all house legislators:

The 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the foundation of the nations medical research efforts and have led the way in acquiring new knowledge to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease for over a century.

Toward that end, we respectfully request that you ask leadership to ask the committee to mark up a bill in full committee with an increase for the NIH that at the very least keeps pace with biomedical research inflation. The NIH community has unified around an increase of 6.7% for FY 2008, which is slightly larger than the increase in the overall Labor-HHS Appropriations allocation (estimated to be 6.2 percent counting advances and program integrity adjustments included in the FY 2008 budget resolution). The failure to keep pace with 3.7 percent biomedical research inflation will force cuts in ground-breaking and lifesaving research. If the current 1.9% House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee mark increase for the NIH becomes law, we fear that progress in rectifying the downward trend of past years in NIH funding and its correlated impact on valuable research will be jeopardized. We must begin making up for lost ground to maximize our investment in life saving research through the NIH.

For phone, fax, or email information for your congressperson go to this website: http://www.visi. com/juan/ congress  

Act today. Ask your groups to act today. Difficult decisions are being made now by the research community and if we do not get involved we have nobody but ourselves to blame for lack of options. We all are the grease that keeps the wheel moving.

Thank you for making a difference for the people dealing with cancer and for our children and grandchildren who will be dealing with cancer in the future.