Don’t let the title scare you. This isn’t a post about politics. Not really. It is a post about using your voice to support others. And how how your vote can help fight cancer.
Why we should vote
Before I get too far ahead, I’d be remiss not to pause to acknowledge the significance of this year. Women won the right to vote just 100 years ago (although not all women or minorities). My ancestors fought for the right to vote and I’m not going to throw their legacy away. I was so proud to be able to vote when I turned 18. I constantly encourage other women to use their voice in our democracy.
Voting is a right as an American citizen. However, it’s a privilege that many people around the world don’t have, particularly women. So I do not take it for granted, especially when I know my voice can make a difference. YOUR voice does too. You can have an impact on fighting diseases, like cancer, and other critical issues.
Over 150 million Americans are registered to vote, and while many exercise that right, too many don’t. I hear so many people say they’re disillusioned, burned out from the political party fighting, tired of the negativity. I get it and agree! But voting is empowering and helps make changes. And, yes, YOUR VOTE DOES MATTER. Several elections have been decided by slim margins, even down to a few hundred votes. Voting is the way we voice our interests and concerns. Your voice matters to so many issues.
Legislation fights cancer
I have an opinion about the state of politics and our democracy. I’m sure you do too. We all should. It’s our country, it’s a democracy and we’re affected by actions of others. I’ve spent the past 20+ years advocating to make life better and healthier for my family and others. I’m alive after three cancers thanks to research, new treatment options and preventive screenings. (Read how cancer advocacy helped save my life). So, yes legislation and who represents me matter. Without these types of legislation, millions of people would not be alive from cancer. There is much more work to be done to fight cancer, thus the importance of our vote.
The reality is, like it or not, our elected officials play a large role in these areas because they work on legislation that supports, or contradicts, issues important to me. Such as the fight against cancer. However, not all legislators fully support funding for research, ensuring access to affordable care, clinical trials and all the other issues that can help end cancer. Surprising but true. But because we live in a democracy and my ancestors fought for my right to vote, I have a voice in these issues and those elected. You do too. Your vote can help in the fight against cancer.
If you are an American citizen 18 years or older, make sure you’re registered to vote in your community. Then vote in every local, state and federal election. Mail in voting is also offered in most states if you can’t make in-person voting due to work or other obligations, or you’re concerned about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I recently shared five ways to advocate for change…. we all have a voice and opportunity to help improve our society and life for ourselves and others. I’m proud to use my voice and vote to fight cancer. You can too.
3 ways your vote can help fight cancer
Learn about the issues and candidates before an election.
What issue is important to you? Fighting cancer and improving healthcare are always important issues for me so I learn which candidate also supports these issues, including funding for research, preventive programs and more. Political party isn’t honestly what I first look at when learning about a candidate. You can even reach out to the candidates via their office, social media or phone/email and ask their view on cancer, healthcare or whatever issue is important to you.
Get involved with a non-partisan organization that supports cancer fighting issues and aligns with your viewpoints.
Many of these organizations do tremendous work on educating our elected officials on important cancer-related issues and how legislation can ease the burden of people facing cancer (or prevent it with screenings and more). I like that the organizations I work with are non-partisan because it allows us to stay focused on the issues, not engage in political differences. Offer your time and talents. Most organizations have great training opportunities to get new volunteers comfortable and engaged (I’ve led several of these trainings and love sharing my passion for advocacy!). Many of these organizations need volunteers to help with phone calls, collect petitions, write letters to the editor, recruit other volunteers and more. It’s a great way to learn about cancer and healthcare-related issues while also helping make a difference!
You don’t have to love a candidate to get their support.
We live in a democracy and embrace freedom of speech, thus allowing us to vocalize our opinions and differences. I probably will never completely agree with any one candidate. So I make sure we align as much as possible. When a candidate doesn’t support or opposes the issues important to me, like funding for research, clinical trials, affordable health care and more, then I tend to look elsewhere (if an incumbent, the voting record and commentary can provide insight). I also look at a candidate’s character and behavior. These people are representing me and I can’t support someone who consistently bashes others because they disagree, degrades people for their looks, bullies, etc.
A personal impact
I share this information not to wade into politics, but because many people don’t realize the impact their vote can have on important areas of our democracy, including fighting diseases. And sitting home on Election Day (or not mailing in a vote) can have detrimental effects on fighting diseases and supporting other important issues.
If you’ve followed this blog for a while (thank you!), you know that fighting cancer is a major passion of mine. My dad survived six years past his diagnosis because of new treatment options (research) and my younger sister is a melanoma survivor thanks to early screening and treatment. I’m alive after three cancers. I do not take a day for granted….I’m grateful beyond words. And I know that advancements in research and preventive screenings, thanks to important legislation, helped make sure I’m alive. Yes, voting is personal to me.