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Native voices join fighting cancer

I have been one of the few Native American volunteer ambassadors of the American Cancer Society (ACS). I have enjoyed the last two years as one of the many advocates with one mission: to urge Congress to make cancer a national priority. Our common ground commitment to the mission of the ACS is to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering through research, education, advocacy and service. As an ambassador from New Mexico we represent each of the nation's congressional districts for our perspective states. As volunteer spokespersons, we serve as key contacts for federal, local lawmakers and tribal leaders; we accomplished this by our extensive advocacy training and mentoring provided by the Government Relations Staff.

In September 2006, myself and other thousands of volunteers, survivors, caregivers and staff gathered in Washington, D.C., to urge Congress to make cancer a national priority at the Relay for Life Celebration on the Hill. Celebration on the Hill was a grassroots event celebrating cancer survivorship and empowering survivors and others to advocate for laws that will help people fight cancer.

I, as the new State Lead Ambassador, and our Native American Advocacy Director would like to help bring in more Native American volunteers and help with our mission. Together, we will help educate Native people in our local communities and make our people aware of cancer, which is a disease that has no word in some of our native languages. Cancer is a disease that affects not only the individual but the whole family, friends and our society. Please join myself and other Native American volunteers in the fight against cancer. Our voices need to be heard on Capitol Hill.

- Lemuel S. Harvey

Albuquerque, N.M.