More than 75 Moffitt researchers, physicians, patients, volunteers and advocates converged Jan. 20 in Tallahassee for the 11th Annual Moffitt Day at the state Capitol. This effort puts a human face on the very important health policy issue of cancer treatment and research, delivering a clear message to Florida legislators that the battle against cancer must remain a top priority for state funding.
Three days earlier, 22 Cure on Wheels cyclists embarked on a 325-mile bike ride from Tampa to Tallahassee to lend their support. The Capitol Ride finish line was the perfect start to Moffitt Day, where a crowd including founder H. Lee Moffitt, President and CEO Dr. Alan List and Center Director Dr. Tom Sellers gathered at the front steps of the Historic Old Capitol to greet the cyclists.
Our team then took the Moffitt message inside the Capitol, holding a news conference with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to announce a new research collaboration aimed at helping Floridians prevent cancer. Dr. Nagi Kumar, director of Nutrition Research, will work with the state to examine the growing concern of food deserts, or areas with limited access to healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.
This one-of-a-kind research will focus on Florida’s schools, evaluating the diet and food intake of children ages 9-14 who live in areas with abundant access to fresh fruits and vegetables compared to those who live in communities with limited healthy options. This can have a significant impact on your risk of developing cancer, the leading cause of death in Florida. The results will help Moffitt and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services build cancer prevention strategies and interventions based on the needs of specific populations and communities in Florida.
“We believe that there is a research opportunity here that will help those same kids who are walking through the lunch line right now with their tray, that what we learn from this study will allow them to live longer, healthier lives, and hopefully not have to endure many of the impacts of cancer that people in our generation are all too familiar with,” Commissioner Putnam said.
After the news conference, Speak Out for Moffitt advocates attended meetings with lawmakers to share their stories and emphasize the importance of continued financial support for the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. They were also applauded at an evening reception hosted by Moffitt at the Historic Old Capitol.
To get involved with Moffitt Day and other grassroots advocacy events, sign up for Speak Out for Moffitt.
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