Today: North Dakota Lung Cancer Advocate Meets with Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to Ask Congress for Increased Research Funding

Ellen Schafer joined volunteers from across the nation to ask members of Congress to take action against lung cancer
North Dakota resident and lung cancer advocate, Ellen Schafer, met with her members of Congress today during the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. As a part of the nationwide event, Schafer joined more than 40 other people across the country who have been impacted by lung cancer to ask lawmakers to support $51 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $11.6 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to support and protect Medicaid.

Ellen Schafer is a retired oncology nurse who has witnessed the devastation that cancer diagnoses bring to patients and their families. Sadly, her mother was a smoker and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006 and passed away the same year.

“Today I speak for my mom, and relatives who have and have died from cancer. I speak for the countless patients and their families I have cared for over the years. We need more voices in this fight against lung cancer and I am proud to use my voice,” said Schafer.

During Advocacy Day, Schafer met with U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven and their staff, plus a member of Representative Armstrong’s staff to share her personal experience with lung cancer and explain why investments in public health, research funding and affordable healthcare are important to her.

The American Lung Association launched LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016 to ask members of Congress to support robust, sustainable, and predictable federal funding increases for lung cancer research, prevention and quality and affordable healthcare.

As a part of Advocacy Day, LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 115%. Since 2016, more than 50new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer—giving more hope to those impacted by this disease.

In 2022, Heroes successfully urged Congress to extend funding for tax credits so more than three million Americans were able to keep affordable healthcare coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.

Schafer’s  encourages others in North Dakota to advocate for lung cancer research and healthcare protections by contacting their members of Congress, which they can do at Learn more about Schafer’s story and the LUNG FORCE initiative at
For more information, contact:

Janye Killelea
[email protected]

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