“The majority of attention and money goes to pink ribbon causes which do not, by and large, search for a cure to metastatic breast cancer, which is the only kind of cancer that kills you,” Sorvino said. “And it kills 40,000 women a year.” About 2 to 7 percent of the federal cancer budget is allocated to metastatic breast cancer research, according to Sorvino.
Stage 4 breast cancer patients (men and women alike) and supporters marched down the Mall on Friday, National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, before staging a “Die-in” on Capitol Hill. Sorvino spoke to the crowd in honor of her best friend, Champagne Joy, founder of the website Cancerland. Joy died of the disease in spring. The actress spoke through tears as she recalled lying in grass hand-in-hand with Joy at last year’s “die-in,” and how she plans to carry on her legacy as a champion for the cause. Event organizers rang a chime 113 times, to represent each of the people in the United States who die of the disease each day.
Sorvino, along other participants, then went to lobby representatives inside the Capitol.
Another concern: “That patients with preexisting conditions are not discriminated against,” said METUP’s Kelly Shanahan, who is living with metastatic breast cancer.
After successfully lobbying for a $2 million bump in National Institutes of Health funding specifically for metastatic cancers last year, event participants asked lawmakers to increase the budget again this year.
“Patient voices are heard on Capitol Hill,” said METAvivor’s Beth Fairchild, a Stage 4 patient and advocate.
“We are pushing for the passage of laws. Executive orders, my a–. That’s not his right and he will be fought on those,” Sorvino said of President Trump and his attempts to deep-six the Affordable Care Act. Shanahan added, “The executive orders that have been signed in the last 48 hours will kill me. Plain and simple.”
Not all politicos are on their blacklist, however.
“We did find a lot of good will in those rooms that we visited.” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) met with Sorvino and fellow advocates Friday morning.