On May 16, cancer survivor Jackie Montejano of Waxahachie will join the Lance Armstrong Foundation at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to urge elected officials to invest in resources, treatment and services for people affected by cancer.
The LAF selected Montejano as one of 200 advocates to participate in LiveStrong Day, the LAF’s grassroots advocacy initiative to unite people affected by cancer and raise awareness about cancer issues. Fifteen delegates from across the state of Texas will participate.
“I’m honored to join the LAF for LiveStrong Day and look forward to the opportunity to talk with our members of Congress about supporting legislation that expands access to screening, treatment and care and to emphasize the importance of making cancer a national priority,” said Montejano, whose passion for legislative initiatives benefiting cancer survivors is two-fold. As an attorney with a large Dallas law firm, she represents people diagnosed with cancer, and she herself is a cancer survivor.
“Since 2003, funding to the National Institutes of Health has remained essentially flat,” she said. “When you factor inflation into the analysis, research budgets are not only stagnating, they’re being eroded. In the past several years, we’ve made tremendous strides in understanding cancer on a molecular and cellular level, it’s really exciting to think a cure for cancer is within our grasp.
“However, I worry that all this progress towards a cure is slipping away,” she said. “I’d like to empower our elected officials to become part of the solution, to reach for a cure, and lead with vision and purpose.”
Montejano said she also would like to see more attention directed toward cancer prevention and early detection.
“Approximately one-third of all cancer deaths are preventable. We know how to prevent and detect cancer in its early, most treatable stages,” she said. “We need to narrow the gap between what’s known about preventing, screening and treating cancer and what’s being done.”
Montejano is a two-year survivor of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
According to information released by LAF, one in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
More than 559,650 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, and an estimated 87,570 Texans were diagnosed with cancer last year.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Texas, with about 549 Ellis County residents diagnosed with cancer last year. About 225 Ellis County residents suffered a cancer-related death.
Ellis County white men and women and black men and women have a higher cancer mortality rates when compared to other Texans, based upon average annual rate per 100,000 and age-adjusted to the U.S. standard population.
Cancer is estimated to cost Texans $14 billion in direct medical costs and in-direct costs from lost productivity.
In addition to the LAF’s efforts in Washington, D.C., about 200 LiveStrong Day events will be held in communities across the country to engage communities with experiences that increase awareness and show support for cancer survivors and their loved ones.
Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the LAF is located in Austin. To learn more about the foundation, visit livestrong.org.