Each of us is only one degree from someone with cancer. We all know someone who’s battled this disease, and many of us have fought cancer ourselves.

As a cancer survivor, I traveled to Washington recently to represent the voice of cancer survivors and patients in my state. When I met with our members of Congress, I explained to them that each dollar Congress puts toward cancer research offers hope to the lives of so many Americans.

By increasing medical research funding at the National Cancer Institute by $680 million, we can move closer to a world with less suffering and death from cancer.

Investing now is critical. Today advancements in research are saving more lives than ever.

We’re beginning to win this fight against cancer. But if we stop now, if we refuse to increase funding for this lifesaving research, new breakthroughs in treatment and prevention on the brink may languish in labs across the country while too many cancer patients in Maine and across the country, sit waiting.

More than 15.5 million cancer survivors are living, and thriving, in America today thanks to past investment in research that led to innovative treatments and therapies. I’m living proof.

We need to keep this momentum going. Congress must act now to increase funding for NCI.

Jeff Bennett

volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Portland