The Life Raft Group is pleased to announce its recent membership in One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC). Established in 2000, OVAC has grown to become the Capitol’s leading cancer coalition by unifying US cancer organizations to advocate for increased federal investment in cancer research from Congress and the White House. This year, OVAC members will lobby Congress for a 10% increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in FY2016, bringing its budget to $33 billion. Within that amount, OVAC requests that funding for the National Cancer Institute be prioritized and that NCI receive at least a 10% increase as well.

Although all OVAC members agree to lobby for the same monetary requests, these figures are particularly relevant to the Life Raft Group as both the NCI and NIH represent a significant source of funding and independent research in the field of GIST. The wild type GIST community has been particularly affected by cuts in the NIH budget as it has meant that the annual GIST Wild Type Clinic the NIH holds has been cut from occurring twice yearly to just once, with its continued future uncertain. The NIH is also home to some of the most advanced GIST mutational testing in the country, with researchers continually working to develop new screening panels.

OVAC Lobby Day

The Life Raft Group will once again be in Washington DC this year on June 8-9 for OVAC’s Lobby Day and we’d love you to come with us! Participants will get the opportunity to meet with legislators from their home districts and share why continued support for GIST research is so crucially important. A full day of training will also be provided prior to meetings to bond with your fellow group members, prepare you for the day ahead and ensure you feel comfortable.

If you would like to join the Life Raft Group for this exciting event please email Mildred Menos at OVAC is also making travel scholarships available until the end of the week if cost is a concern, so please sure to get in touch ASAP if you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity.

You may view the 2015 OVAC Lobby Day agenda here: