Last week, US Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) submitted a request that $70 million in funding be appropriated to the Office of the Director at NIH to support research relevant to the lymphatic system. The Senator stressed that up to 10 million Americans suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic diseases, for which there are no cures and few treatments. This request was made following urging from LE&RN, as well as LE&RN members and supporters. The NIH was recently provided an additional $2 billion in research funding, an historic increase, which LE&RN commended.
Please join us in thanking Senator Schumer, who has been a friend to LE&RN and an advocate for the lymphatic disease community. Senator Schumer was awarded LE&RN's Research Leadership Award in 2014. The Senator accepted the honor in person and addressed the crowd which had gathered at the Brooklyn Bridge for the 2014 Walk to Fight Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases. He met with Academy Award-winning Actress and LE&RN Spokesperson Kathy Bates in Washington when she attended and spoke at the NIH Symposium on Lymphatics. Shortly after, the Senator became one of the first Senate co-sponsors of the Lymphedema Treatment Act and credited LE&RN with raising awareness of the issues. He was one of the earliest advocates for World Lymphedema Day and, together with US Senator Chuck Grassley (IA), co-sponsored a bill establishing March 6 as World Lymphedema Day, which passed in unanimous vote in the Senate.
We ask LE&RN members and supporters to reach out to Senator Schumer's office and thank him for his support. Then, reach out to your own Senators. Tell them you care about lymphatic research and you support Senator Schumer's request for funding for lymphedema and lymphatic diseases. Senator Schumer's efforts will be successful if we make our voices heard.
UPDATE: A petition has been created on Change.org to show support for this funding. Please take a moment. Sign the petition, leave a comment, and share with as many people as possible. Use the hashtage #LymphaticFunding when sharing on social media. We simply cannot let this moment pass us by.