Relay For Life Participants to Advocate for Maryland Cancer Treatment Program

Passing legislation that supports cancer issues is a challenging process that requires active participation by local volunteers which is why this year Relay For Life participants are gathering petitions to urge Maryland lawmakers to pass legislation to create the Maryland Cancer Treatment Program.

Relayers understand more than ever before that while they gather for one night to celebrate, remember and fight back, they must continue that fight once the all night event ends. Relayers say they feel a duty to take action on pressing issues that can make a difference to those suffering from cancer.

“Our volunteers are wonderful and they remain committed to raising money to fight this disease through our annual Relay For Life event and while it continues to grow in participation each year we are seeing an increasing number of participants taking an active role in the legislative process after experiencing Relay,” says Bonita Pennino, State Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society.

At this year’s Queen Anne’s County Relay For Life event, to be held on Saturday, June 14th at Kent Island High School, cancer advocates will be collecting petitions urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation to create the Maryland Cancer Treatment Program.

“Needless cancer deaths occur each year because individuals do not have adequate health insurance,” Pennino said. She said the American Cancer Society is strengthening its commitment to ensuring access to quality health care.

“This means expanding the services we offer to cancer patients, caregivers and survivors, and it also means working with our elected officials to provide more access to cancer screening and cancer care for both the un-insured and the under-insured, and that’s exactly what this legislation would do,” Pennino added.

The Maryland Cancer Treatment Program would provide Medical coverage for the first year of treatment to Maryland residents newly diagnosed with cancer living at or below 300% Federal Poverty Level Pennino said.

An estimated 2,496 newly diagnosed cancer patients would be eligible for the Maryland Cancer Treatment Program in 2009, she said.

Please contact Cathy Tyler, media advocacy manager, at (404) 295-5108 with any media inquiries.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. For information about cancer, call 24 hours day, seven days a week 1.800.ACS.2345 or log onto