Blog: Making our voices heard on the Hill

Blog: Making our voices heard on the Hill

1517439_10152540413217574_7474607829552216460_n 11012375_10152540795517574_8580930086901866430_n

3.11.15 In early March, MOCA Communications Manager Becky Lechner joined the efforts of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) as part of Advocacy Day. Becky spent two days in Washington, D.C. to ask our lawmakers for increased ovarian cancer research funding and awareness efforts. In this Teal Together blog post, Becky shares some thoughts on the experience. 

Teal takes on D.C.! That was the sentiment earlier this week, when I joined a group of ovarian cancer survivors, caregivers and researchers from around the country. No matter our background, when we were in Washington, D.C., we all were transformed into advocates, bringing our voice to Congress.

And what an experience it was. Monday was full of training – what our “asks” were, how to tell our personal stories and what we could expect from our meetings.

I have two reasons to be part of Advocacy Day. Professionally, I’m MOCA’s communications manager. And personally, I’m the daughter of a woman whose life was ended far too early because of ovarian cancer.

Watching someone you love cope with ovarian cancer can make you feel powerless. But I felt a sense of power in Washington, D.C., knowing I could be part of something bigger than myself to make a difference against the disease.

During our training session, I connected with more than 70 other advocates from throughout the country. Also representing Minnesota was Rachel – a medical student at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., a MOCA supporter and an Advocate Leader for OCNA.

After our training, we were ready to take on Capitol Hill with our message of increased funding and awareness efforts for ovarian cancer, including:

It was an amazing experience to walk the halls of the Senate and House buildings, feel the history there and bring our message to our lawmakers. To sit down with their aides and tell them we vitally need research funding – for an early detection test, better treatments and a cure for this too-often deadly disease.

Thanks to the coordination of OCNA representatives, we had meetings or dropped off materials at the offices of Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Rep. Erik Paulson and Rep. Tim Walz.

As each meeting began, I shared a photo that I had taken with my mom and two young boys only months before she died 6 years ago.

I reflected on the fact that the infant and toddler in the photo are now 6 and 8-year-old schoolchildren. Little boys who will never get a chance to know their “Nana” because ovarian cancer took her away from us.

It was a profoundly moving experience to share my mom’s story because she isn’t here to do it. In other offices that day, I have no doubt there were survivors and caregivers telling similar stories.

We were advocating for ourselves. Advocating for our sisters, wives, daughters and friends who are no longer here. And advocating for our future generations.

Now that Rachel and I are back in Minnesota, the work isn’t done. We’re following up with our lawmakers – and I’m asking you to do the same. You can take part in the “Digital Day of Action” by adding your name and voice to our requests.

Survivor, caregiver, loved one or friend – let’s work to make progress against ovarian cancer. Together.

– March 2015

Advocacy Day 2