The Journey Takes Us to Washington, DC

I’m in Washington, DC today. I’ve been here before… interviewed members of Congress before, talked to plenty of important lawmakers about important things before.

I never, ever thought I’d be in Washington lobbying them. But here I am, with a team from University of Pittsburgh Medical Center talking to congressmen and women, to our Senators, about how cancer doesn’t have a political party, and how cancer research is the only way we’re gonna beat this terrible disease. How groups like the National Institutes of Health and our great research hospitals like UPMC need more money to do it.

Our first stop this morning was a breakfast meeting at the Rayburn House Office Building where I put on a suit (kinda needed to look like I belonged there and sweat pants weren’t cutting it) and made a speech to the people who have control over the money the cancer researchers need. I told them my story and why this fight is very, very personal to me (I also said something funny, so you’re gonna want to watch this):

So now all these bigwigs know my story from the beginning last August when I was shaving and found a lump in my neck, to yesterday when my second post-treatment scan for HPV-related throat cancer came back clear.

I told them about how I decided to share my journey with you and with my radio listeners.

I told them if had this cancer 15 years ago, I would have lost parts of my tongue and jaw, and my career would have been over. But thanks to research, I’m cancer free and standing in front of them telling my story.

I told them how I pray that, with more research, if God forbid any of my kids ever have cancer the treatment will be a lot easier than the 7 months of hell I went through.

I’m in D.C. with Chad Ellis, Deputy Director, Research Administration, UPMC, and my oncologist, Dr. Dan Zandberg. We decided early on we’re going to make a difference with this, we’re going to create change with this, and here we are. Big day planned, meeting all over Capitol Hill with lawmakers like Guy Reschenthaler, and Connor Lamb in their offices. I’m pumped to be a part of this. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know how it goes.

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