As part of a six-month, 48-state tour, the Fight Back Express bus will stop in Kittanning this weekend, carrying the message, “If one person can battle cancer, a nation can rise up and defeat it.”
The tour, sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), is highlighting the crucial role elected officials play in making cancer a national priority. As government is a critical partner in the fight against cancer, changes in policies and programs at the federal, state and local levels have the potential to effectively help defeat a disease that will kill an estimated 565,650 people in America this year.
The bus will stop at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Hilltop Plaza, East Franklin, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Saturday. Cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and their families are invited to welcome the Fight Back Express and learn more about how their actions can shape the future.
Janet Cowan, county society volunteer and ACS CAN advocacy chairwoman, said the bus’s purpose is “to make people aware of the legislation … and the cancer issues.”
Some pending legislation at the state and federal levels that could have effects on cancer are a smoking ban, colon cancer screenings and mammograms for un- or under-insured women, Cowan said. The society is supporting those proposals, she said, and the bus tour will help people learn about the issues.
The bus is a mobile action center where visitors can share their story with their elected officials through the electronic Picture A Cure program and sign a petition to guarantee all Americans access to quality health care. Exhibits, displays and hands-on items will be set up around the bus upon arrival.
A computer will be available at the bus that will allow visitors to share their story or hopes about the future of cancer with legislators, Cowan said. The county branch of the society has begun taking Polaroids of participants at the Ford City Relay for Life and sending a message with the picture to local legislators, she said.
“We sort of feel there are answers out there,” she said.
Because the society is not permitted to lobby legislators, ACS CAN was created to fill that role. Cowan said she has been to Harrisburg twice to talk with her local legislators about cancer prevention and other issues and regularly makes phone calls and sends letters, actions that she said make a big difference.
The bus’s visit will hopefully show visitors that they can do something, she said.
The ACS CAN Fight Back Express bus tour comes on the heels of a major public education campaign by ACS CAN and the American Cancer Society to raise awareness about the critical need for access to quality health care for all Americans.
The ACS CAN Fight Back Express kicked off in Ohio in early May and will travel across the 48 continental United States through Nov. 4. The bus will make 10 stops in Pennsylvania.
More about the ACS CAN Fight Back Express is available at www.acscan.org .