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NU Coaches Promote Cancer Awareness With Legislators

Apr 1, 2014, 4:13 PM EDT

Northeastern coach Bill Coen with Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

Northeastern University men’s basketball head coach Bill Coen and associate head coach David McLaughlin met with state and city officials on Monday as part of the American Cancer Society’s Massachusetts Lobby Day.

Coen and McLaughlin visited with elected leaders at both the State House and City Hall to help raise awareness about the cancer society’s efforts to advocate for the expansion to access to palliative care for cancer patients.

“The tremendous support the American Cancer Society has received from Massachusetts college basketball coaches has already made an indelible impact toward the society’s lifesaving mission,” said Peg Camp, executive vice president and New England division operating officer for the American Cancer Society. “Coach Coen and Northeastern University have been a vital part of the recent and successful teaming of college basketball and the American Cancer Society, specifically with their participation in the annual Tip-Off Breakfast and last fall’s inaugural Coaches vs. Cancer Tripleheader at TD Garden.”

As part of Lobby Day event, Coen, McLaughlin and elected officials wore suits and sneakers, reminiscent of the highly-successful, annual “Suits and Sneakers” games coordinated nationally by the cancer society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program.

In addition to their time on Beacon Hill, Coen and McLaughlin also spent time at City Hall, visiting with newly-elected Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who also wore sneakers to show support for the American Cancer Society event.

“The visibility Coach Coen and his program create by taking part in Suits and Sneakers as part of Lobby Day undoubtedly provide leverage toward the initiative’s goal—to create awareness of cancer and remind residents of Boston and across Massachusetts to speak with their healthcare providers about important American Cancer Society screening guidelines that will aid in detection and prevention,” Camp said.

Coen and the Northeastern program have worked closely with the American Cancer Society for nearly a decade. The Huskies have played in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers game in each of Coen’s eight seasons as head coach, enjoying a perfect 8-0 record in those games. Coen and his staff also have participated in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Tip-Off Breakfast, an event that empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

More from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network regarding Lobby Day:

About Lobby Day

This year, more than 38,000 Massachusetts residents will be diagnosed with cancer, and nearly 13,000 will lose their battle with the disease. In an effort to assist those suffering from the effects of cancer, citizen-advocates converged on the State House Monday, March 31, to lobby for improved quality of life for cancer patients through palliative care.

About Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized medical care that improves quality of life for patients and families by focusing on relief from pain, stress and other symptoms of treatment for a serious disease. Palliative care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness like cancer. Medical research confirms patients who receive palliative care have reduced symptom – better quality of life, less pain, less shortness of breath, and less nausea – and live a longer life. Lobby Day participants, State House staff and visitors will be invited to wear sneakers to Lobby Day in support of and to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and its collective work in the fight against cancer. The day will also include a Lights of Hope ceremony, where we will display white bags decorated to honor those with cancer and those who lost their battle.

About the Palliative Care Bill

H. 2104, An Act to improve quality of life by expanding access to palliative care.

-Filed by Rep. Chris Walsh (D), Framingham

House 2104 seeks to improve the quality and delivery of patient centered, family focused care in Massachusetts by establishing a State Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life, a Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program and a palliative care access initiative Massachusetts.  The ultimate goal is to establish a system for identifying patients who could benefit from palliative care and to provide information about, and facilitate access to, appropriate palliative care services for patients suffering from a serious illness.

About ACS CAN

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 www.acscan.org.

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