Danville resident Lori Garcia has been awarded the Ambassador Constituent Team (ACT!) Lead of the Year award by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of her exemplary advocacy efforts toward making cancer care a national priority.
An annual award is given to a lead congressional district volunteer who has demonstrated remarkable leadership advocating for cancer-related public policy, Garcia was recognized for her efforts to connect with Congressional District 11 lawmakers as well as through her efforts to mentor local youth.
“Lori is a tireless advocate who speaks out on behalf of all those fighting cancer, in California and across the country,” Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN, said in a statement. “Her outstanding efforts are reflected in her ability to organize and mobilize a robust team of local volunteers to champion strong and effective public policy proven to end suffering and death from cancer.”
As the ACT! leader for Congressional District 11 -- which encompasses the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, Richmond, Walnut Creek and most of Danville -- Garcia actively recruits and manages other local volunteers to lead advocacy and fundraising efforts.
Taking efforts to get young people involved in advocacy, she also mentors local youth who are learning how to advocate for cancer-fighting policies at the state and federal level.
“I’m honored to receive this reward and humbled by the opportunity I’ve had in recent years to make a difference in the cancer fight,” Garcia said. “I encourage everyone touched by cancer to get involved in ACS CAN, and I look forward to continuing to make sure the next generation understands how important it is to end cancer as we know it.”
Garcia said she is inspired to advocate for patients and families suffering from cancer in no small part due to the passing of her father to lymphoma while she was in her senior year of high school.
Her father was only 53 when he lost his battle with cancer in 1976, and according to Garcia, could have recovered if today's cancer breakthroughs were around.
“My dad is the reason I will never stop advocating for funding research to the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute,” Garcia said. “If he had been diagnosed today, he could have survived.”
Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones met virtually for the award ceremony, which was presented on Sept. 13 as part of the annual ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.
Garcia has encouraged those interested in getting involved, to go to fightcancer.org to learn more and become an ACS CAN member.