Mary Jo Kilroy

Breast Cancer Awareness- Oct. 7, 2009

Mary Jo Kilroy
October 07, 2009— Washington, D.C.
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I want to say thank you to both of my colleagues, Representative Myrick, with whom I have the great honor of serving as one of the co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cancer Caucus, and of course the gentlewoman from Florida for your strength as cancer survivors and for leadership on this issue.

I am lucky, Representative Wasserman Schultz, to have you as a friend, and I appreciate very much the kind comments you made just a few minutes ago about me. You have taught me so much about this Chamber and what it means to serve here as a Member of this House.

Last weekend, we saw some very interesting things happen on the football fields. We heard earlier from Representative Capps—and I remember those days when breast cancer was something to be whispered, when my mother and her sisters or my father's sisters would whisper in the other room about somebody who had been diagnosed, and things have changed that way.

And last weekend we saw some very large athletes who are man enough to wear pink. Hundreds of NFL football players shed their dirty cleats for fresh pink and white athletic shoes to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to show their support for their mothers or sisters or aunts or grandmothers or for the thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer in this country.

Awareness is very important. And I think awareness helps lead to action, the kind of action that we've talked about tonight with our sponsorship of the EARLY Act, the kind of action that dedicates resources to research and to access to health care.

The pink wave was a wonderful show of solidarity for cancer survivors and for continued research funding that we in this Chamber have supported. And while professional athletes get a lot of attention, I would like to call your attention to the next generation of athletes, to some women in my district who are also drawing attention to the cause and to the fight for a cure. In fact, they are instead of running for the cure, they are volleying for the cure.

And this week I visited Hilliard Bradley High School and presented each member of the Hilliard Bradley volleyball team with a recognition certificate for their service to the community through the Volley for the Cure event that took place at their high school on September 14. The Hilliard Bradley volleyball team and their coach, RyAnne Ufferman, with the support of small businesses and the community of Hilliard, raised $2,300 for the local affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The team had a T-shirt, a bake sale, and a raffle at their match against Fairbanks Local to raise awareness and money for the cause.

It's great that these young women recognize an issue that is facing us as women in this country, the need to raise further awareness and further resources so that we have a cure. And I was so pleased with them for their leadership. This is a new high school. These are not the seniors that are looking for something on their resume. These are freshman, sophomores, and juniors in this new high school on this new team stepping out beyond their comfort zone to go out and knock on doors and ask for money to join us in this cause to find the cause and the cure for breast cancer, a disease that affects in one way or another almost every single American. And it can only be eradicated if we all continue our efforts at the Federal level to support and to fund important research and to continue the grassroots support that we see at important organizations like Susan G. Komen.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 25 young women who put this event together, as well as for their four coaches.

These young women and this 25th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month should serve as a reminder to all of us to take breast cancer screening seriously and to make sure eliminating breast cancer is a priority for our country. We hold the key to this in our incredible doctors, in our scientists; and I hope that they will continue to receive the support they need.

People will learn how to be more aware of breast cancer and the need for examinations and prevention and detection, and we'll continue to work so that all of us, all women, have access to the women's health care that they need.

Thank you very much for this opportunity.

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