Activists from all 50 states are in Washington D.C. this week to lobby members of Congress to pump more money into cancer research.

Among Iowa’s representatives, Angela Sylling, of Johnston, is a volunteer advocate for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Sylling is calling for Congress to increase funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health to $36 billion.

“Cancer is a disease that kills 600,000 Americans every year or one person every minute of the day,” Sylling says. “It’s an important priority and we really need to see support from Congress on funding the fight against cancer.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are being asked to work together to stabilize the health insurance market so cancer patients and survivors can access the quality health care coverage they need.

Sylling says they’re also calling for support of the Palliative Care and Hospice Education Training Act which will greatly improve the quality of life for cancer patients, as well as support of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.

“We know a lot of the cancer decisions happen, not in the hospital room or in daily life, but in the halls of Congress,” Sylling says. “We encourage people to join us in the movement and use the opportunity to make your voices heard. Contact your state representative.” Like most of us, Sylling says she’s lost several friends and relatives to cancer while her mother, in Iowa, is currently fighting stage-four cancer.

“It is near and dear to my heart,” Sylling says. “As a caregiver, it gives me some semblance of control of the situation and helping by making my voice heard and impacting lawmakers with some of the decisions we’re asking them about.” It’s predicted 17,200 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, while 6,500 will die from it.