Friday, May 24, 2013


MS activists from Virginia attend lunch with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-7)

On May 8th, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA-7) hosted a lunch in the Library of Congress to bring together Virginia-based patient advocacy groups and discuss the importance of medical research. Approximately two-dozen activists attended the event, including four MS activists from Virginia. Sarah Keitt, one MS activist and a person living with MS who was in attendance, described the event as “a unique opportunity for health advocates to educate Congressman Cantor on medical research issues that are important to our community. The event helped me realize that we cannot be passive when it comes to protecting medical research funding.” Medical research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) has been and remains a top priority for the National MS Society.

Majority Leader Cantor addresses Virginia-based activists over lunch
With activists from a number of disease groups filling the room, Cantor, who was joined by his senior staff, spoke for roughly twenty minutes on his support for medical research, the importance of innovation, and the critical roles that the NIH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) play in advancing medical research and finding cures. At one point, Cantor declared, “There is probably no higher priority after national security than finding cures for diseases.”

Sarah asked Cantor the first question—if and how, was he concerned about the effects of the sequester on NIH funding? Cantor responded with concern that underfunding future innovative projects could create a gap in medical research advancements. As Sarah points out, “people should pay close attention to all future budget debates and contact their legislators to let them know about the important, lifesaving work being conducted by NIH-funded researchers across the country.” Thank you to the MS activists from Virginia who attended the event with Majority Leader Cantor and to MS activists across the country for making sure your legislators keep medical research a priority!

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