Published on November 15, 2018
The 26th Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon celebrated cancer prevention honorees at the Library of Congress on September 27, attracting a bipartisan, bicameral audience of congressional members and spouses, as well as leaders in the cancer community. The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program’s signature event recognizes congressional spouses, journalists and other advocates for using their respective platforms to help educate the public on cancer prevention and early detection.
This year’s event honored congressional spouses Helen Green (spouse of Rep. Gene Green, D-TX) and Kasey Crowley (spouse of Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY); Norah O’Donnell, co-host of “CBS This Morning” and contributor to “60 Minutes;” and Phil Kessel, professional hockey player for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The theme of “Families Helping Families” was carried throughout the program as each honoree’s passion to share the message of cancer prevention and early detection was fueled by their own family’s experience with cancer.
Congressional Families Executive Director Lisa McGovern welcomed attendees with remarks on the Program’s history. Prevent Cancer Foundation® Founder and CEO Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé spoke about the Foundation’s mission before turning the program over to the Master of Ceremonies, Investigation Discovery’s Paula Zahn.
Helen Green and Kasey Crowley were each recognized with the Congressional Families Leadership Award for their long-term commitment as members of the Program’s Advisory Committee. Having lost several close family members to cancer, Mrs. Green was inspired to use her experience to raise awareness about cancer prevention in Texas and beyond. Mrs. Crowley has offered her expertise as a practicing nurse to help shape the Program over the years to educate the public in her home state and across the U.S.
Dr. Frank O’Donnell and Mrs. Norah O’Donnell accepted the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award on behalf of their daughter, Norah O’Donnell, who had a last minute conflict that prevented her attendance. The younger Ms. O’Donnell was diagnosed with melanoma in 2016, and has since used her platform and communication talents to spread awareness of the disease. Her father, an Army preventive doctor, was the perfect stand-in to accept her award, as he shares her focus on the power of prevention.
Phil Kessel received the Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award. Mr. Kessel was diagnosed with testicular cancer as a rookie in 2006. Since then, he has gone on to beat his cancer and win two Stanley Cup championships and represent the U.S. in the Olympics. His early diagnosis was key to his positive outcome and he shares his story to educate others and encourage them to get screened.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi closed the program, remarking on the importance of bipartisanship in the fight against cancer and reflecting on the important contributions of each of the honorees, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program and the cancer community.
More than 40 congressional and diplomatic spouses and more than 20 members of Congress attended, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL).
To view photos from the event, check out our Facebook album.