OKLAHOMA - Jamie Gross’ bag is packed.
She’s ready for her Sunday flight to Washington D.C. where she plans to deliver a message to Oklahoma congressmen and senators.
“Cancer research funding is important to Oklahoma. It’s important to our nation,” Gross said. “We’re asking for a $2 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health, which will trickle down to the National Cancer Institute.”
Gross is a two-time survivor, diagnosed at age 19 with a rare form of cancer.
She said research saved her life after she participated in an experimental new stem cell treatment.
“Had they not had that research going when I got to Texas, I really wouldn’t be here,” Gross said.
Her husband is also a cancer survivor, and she lost her father to cancer.
It’s an issue close to her heart.
“There’s really nothing that’s more important to me than continuing the fight for cancer research,” Gross said.
On Tuesday, Gross will join advocates from across the nation for the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network lobby day.
“It’s just incredibly important to me that others not hear the words 'You have cancer,'” Gross said.
Gross will be asking legislators to cosponsor legislation that supports patients’ quality of life as well as asking for the increase in funding for research.
A White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 included a $1.2 billion cut for cancer research at the National Cancer Institute.
“If they say no, they’re going to have to say it to a cancer survivor’s face,” Gross said.
Gross is one of five volunteers going to Washington D.C. from Oklahoma.
They’re joining an estimated 700 other cancer patients, survivors, volunteers and staff.