Friday, July 25, 2008

LiveStrong

Today I would like to have a "guest blogger." My wise guardian, who some of you may know as "Curly" is currently in Columbus at the LiveStrong summit. She sent us all an e-mail today to tell us how things are going and I was so excited that I asked if I could post it here. She has graciously agreed, so following is Curly's adventure!

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Hi all-

I am going to try to write you a note everyday. This is such a powerful experience, that I want all of you to be able to share it with me. I had a wonderful trip out here and that little GPS is just so smart! It tends to panic a little when I pull into Wendy's for my beloved diet Pepsi suggesting that I make a U-turn at the next possible moment, but I guess it is just going to have to get used to my caffeine needs!

The first thing I did today was to check into my hotel, which is lovely. Then we took buses over to the capital building and registered for the conference. As part of registration we were given yellow liveStrong t-shirts. 1000 people entered the building in clothes of many colors...1000 people exited as soldiers in the fight against cancer wearing there battle clothes. From there we went to Ohio State. While boarding the bus I overheard a woman speaking about her father who had died several weeks ago, only 8 weeks after his diagnosis. She wasn't sad, but there was a look on her face of determination and pride. She was explaining that though he had lost his battle he had fought hard each step of the way and even during his last breath, he was fighting. The stories here are not one of pity, no one wants you to feel bad for them because there is something growing inside their body trying to kill them. The stories here are of strength and hope and survivorship.

I got to the Presidential Town hall early and pretty much had the pick of the seats. For some reason, I thought of "Fab" and how during every training she rushes to sit in the front row, I thought I would do that too. As it turns out I made it into the 2nd row about 20 feet from Lance and Sen.. McCain and directly across from the press corp. I spent 3 hours surrounded by 15 photographers and their very high powered lenses. Imagine my delight! I wasn't allowed to take any pictures today due to security, but I promise I will try my best to take some tomorrow. Speaking of security...the secret service is pretty tough. I am thinking that all of them could kick my ass, so I stayed in my seat and tried not to cause any trouble.

The program began and we had several speakers from the university and the Lance Armstrong foundation, then our host for the evening Paula Zahn came out and shared her story of Cancer. In 1983, weeks apart her parents were diagnosed with cancer. 6 months later her sister-in-law was diagnosed. Her mother is a double mastectomy survivor, here father and sister-in-law lost their battles.

Next was Lance Armstrong (No Kate Hudson was not there). He got a standing ovation. Lance has some key phrases that I think can apply to about anything..."Knowledge is power" and "Attitude is everything". Lance stated that we picked this fight against cancer in 1971 when Richard Nixon created the National Cancer Institute which receives about 5 billion dollars in funding every year. The tobacco companies spend 15 billion dollars a year on marketing. BILLION! Seems kind of off balance. Lance also stated that 1500 people die each day of cancer and 1/3 of those deaths are preventable. Lance was a terrific and passionate speaker.

The next part was a Q and A session between Paula, Lance and Sen. Mccain. I tried to write down all of them, but things were moving faster then my pen could go. Here is what I captured.

Lance: What does Sen. McCain do to keep fit?
McCain: I like to hike swim and do light exercises. 2 years ago the Senator and his son hiked from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon.

Paula: Would you support the increase of a Federal tax on tobacco?
McCain: He does not think that he would. He is not sure that the extra money that would be raised would go towards cancer and tobacco prevention. He stated that many years ago he supported a bill to increase the taxes on tobacco with money to go to the states for education and prevention. He stated that currently not one state uses that money for what it was intended. He also mentioned that he believes that some members of congress are guided by special interests and that until congress is cleaned up he would not support a bill like that.

Paula: What are members of congress afraid of in going up against tobacco companies?
McCain: I'm not sure it is fear, I think certain members of congress are rewarded by tobacco companies.

Paula: How does that happen?
McCain: There are many ways.

Lance: For the past three years the current administration has shrunk the budget for the National Cancer Institute, will you increase or decrease the budget?
McCain: Increase, but I cannot give you a number in which I can increase it by. What I will tell you is that I will decrease pork-barrel spending and that money will go to important things like cancer research.



Well, I guess this was bigger then just a quick note. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend.
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Thanks Curly!
To see the LiveStrong blog click the link below.
http://livestrongblog.org/2008/07/14/senator-mccain-to-address-livestrong-summit/

3 comments:

Natazz said...

Was this the same event? http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/07/25/mccain-veers-off-script-talks-about-his-cancer-battle/

"Armstrong, who brought his parents and girlfriend Kate Hudson to the summit, had some decidedly easier questions for the senator."...

Apparently, Kate was there with Lance's folks. Odd you didn't see her. Oh well, just a silly observation. ;)

rickismom said...

Well, I definately think that for every tobacco ad, they should have to pay for a non-smoking one!

FAB said...

I agree!