Senator Patty Murray Receives National Distinguished Advocacy Award for Championing Lifesaving Cancer Public Policy

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Award is Highest Honor Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Washington, D.C.—September 14, 2017—U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award, the most esteemed award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in recognition of her steadfast dedication to protecting patient access to adequate and affordable health care coverage, increasing federal cancer research funding and her career-long support for policies and programs intended to end death and suffering from cancer. 

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate life-long leadership in advocacy against cancer.

Senator Murray has made tremendous strides for Washingtonians and the rest of the nation through her strong leadership on the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee,” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “By acting against cancer, Senator Murray has established herself as a formidable champion in improving public health and helping to increase prevention and care of cancer patients and survivors in Washington state and around the country.” 

““In this environment, any step in the right direction is hard-fought, and so I could not ask for a better partner than the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network,” said Senator Murray in receiving the National Distinguished Advocacy Award. “Whether it’s protecting access to affordable health care or pushing for increased investments in cancer research, I won’t rest until we are doing everything we can to provide the support and resources that cancer patients and survivors need in my home state of Washington and nationwide.”

In December 2016, the Senate passed the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which secured $4.8 billion in new funding over the next decade to boost research and medical innovation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $1.8 billion for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. As the top Democrat on the Senate health care committee, Senator Murray was a leader in passing this legislation. 

In order to ensure all Americans benefit from this new research, Senator Murray pushed for policy changes that will require the NIH to include women, children, minorities, and members of the LGBT community in their research.  

Additionally, the senator has previously co-sponsored federal legislation to ensure that lifesaving colon cancer screenings are more affordable and accessible for seniors on Medicare and supported efforts to improve patient quality of life. During the national debate on health care reform, Senator Murray consistently spoke out for patients, and urged a bipartisan legislative solution that would result in more Americans gaining coverage rather than millions losing it. 

“Senator Murray’s unwavering support for cancer public policy has made an incredible difference in reducing the toll of cancer for not only those of us in Washington state, but across the country,” said ACS CAN Washington Government Relations Director Mary McHale.  “We are tremendously grateful to have such a strong ally in Senator Murray and are thrilled to honor her accomplishments with our highest award.”

Cancer survivors and patients from across the Evergreen State presented Murray with the National Distinguished Advocacy Award on September 12th, during the ACS CAN annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.  The Summit brought more than 700 volunteers from all 50 states to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life and make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors. 

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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