TODAY’s Al Roker, Congressman Jamie Raskin, and congressional spouses Patricia Garamendi and Martha McKenzie Hill honored by Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Program

Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program® held its 30th Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards luncheon on Thursday, September 14 on Capitol Hill. The group honored “TODAY’s” beloved Al Roker for Distinguished Service in Journalism; accomplished congressional spouses Patricia Garamendi (married to Rep. John Garamendi of California) and Martha McKenzie Hill (married to Rep. French Hill of Arkansas) for Congressional Families LeadershipCongressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland was honored with a Special Recognition Award presented by former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who publicly battled cancer shortly after his election in 2015.

The Congressional Families Program’s signature event is widely attended by members of Congress and their spouses, as well as leaders in the cancer prevention community and Program supporters, to recognize the contributions of those using their platforms to educate the public about cancer prevention and early detection. The theme of this year’s event was “Early Detection = Better Outcomes,” in recognition of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s rallying cry on the importance of routine cancer screenings to detect cancer early. Fox News Chief National Correspondent and Prevent Cancer Foundation board member Jennifer Griffin served as the master of ceremonies.

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“For 30 years, the Congressional Families luncheon has gathered a bipartisan community of members of Congress and their spouses to renew our commitment to cancer prevention and early detection and honor outstanding individuals for their contributions to this work,” said Lisa McGovern, executive director of the Congressional Families Program. “Each year, it is very moving for our honorees to receive their awards from a colleague from the other party–as we saw with Congressman Raskin and Governor Hogan today. When it comes to cancer prevention, we must all be on the same team.”

More about the 2023 honorees:

Al Roker, Weather and Feature Anchor, “TODAY” and Co-Host, 3rd Hour of “TODAY” 
Distinguished Service in Journalism Award

In November 2020, Al Roker revealed on “TODAY” that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The cancer was discovered after bloodwork taken during a routine physical showed his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels were elevated, which can indicate cancer or other issues. By sharing his journey, Mr. Roker has brought attention to the increased risk of prostate cancer for Black men and the importance of early detection. Years before his diagnosis, in 2017 and 2019, he participated in public service announcements about the importance of prostate cancer checks.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (8th District, Maryland) 
Special Recognition Award

Congressman Jamie Raskin is a legislative cancer champion and shares his personal experience to raise awareness about the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. Prior to serving in Congress, he was diagnosed and successfully treated for stage III colon cancer. Since his election in 2017, Congressman Raskin has utilized his platform to educate the public. In 2022, Congressman Raskin was diagnosed with a serious but curable form of lymphoma. With characteristic humor and grace, he publicly shared about his diagnosis and treatment, which he concluded in April; his cancer is now in remission.

Patricia Garamendi (married to Congressman John Garamendi, California) 
Congressional Families Leadership Award

Patricia Garamendi is a longtime member and leader of the Congressional Families Program Advisory Committee. As the current president of The Congressional Club (which in 1991 was the founding partner of the Congressional Families Program), Mrs. Garamendi has continued the club’s commitment to raising awareness about cancer prevention and early detection as a top service priority. The Garamendis attend Congressional Families educational events and share vital information and personal stories through social media posts, op-eds, newsletter articles and videos.

Martha McKenzie Hill (married to Congressman French Hill, Arkansas) 
Congressional Families Leadership Award

Martha McKenzie Hill is a leader who raises awareness about cancer prevention and early detection both as a member of the Congressional Families Program Executive Council and as a powerful voice in her home state. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences—the state’s only academic medical center—which is seeking a National Cancer Institute designation. Mrs. Hill is a fierce advocate for providing access to cutting-edge care to all Arkansans, particularly in rural and medically underserved communities; her work raises awareness of the needs of these communities and how to effectively address them.

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About the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program®

The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program® is a nonpartisan initiative to increase the public’s understanding of cancer prevention and early detection. Families of Senate, House, Cabinet and Supreme Court members are invited to work within their respective constituencies—and nationwide—to raise awareness and reduce risk for these diseases.

When the Congressional Families Program launched in 1991 as a partnership between the Prevent Cancer Foundation and The Congressional Club, initial efforts focused on breast cancer. The success of the Program’s first five years led to the expansion of its scope to include colorectal, liver, lung, oral, prostate, skin, testicular and cervical cancers, as well as HPV-related cancers. The Program offers participants video opportunities, ready-to-use social media posts, talking points, op-eds, speeches, educational resources for events and materials to share in their districts and beyond. With these tools, the Congressional Families Program takes the message of cancer prevention and early detection into communities across the United States. For more information, please visit www.congressionalfamilies.org.

About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is the only U.S.-based nonprofit organization solely dedicated to cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated. We are driven by a vision of a world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable for all.  

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.

Attachments

  • Action for Cancer Awareness Awards luncheon awardees
  • Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

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