18 May Main Stage Advocacy Panel on Saturday Morning “A New Sense of Purpose”
Featuring Karen Mills (AACR), Heidi Adams (Critical Mass), Cindy Chafin (Tennessee Cancer Coalition), Michael Holtz (ACS-CAN ), and moderated by Monica Bryant, Esq., (Triage Cancer)
A cancer diagnosis can give some people a new sense of purpose and a desire to change the status quo, give back, and help others. In other words, they become an advocate. “Advocacy” can mean a lot of things. This distinguished panel will discuss the spectrum of advocacy including community, organization, media, research, and policy and legislative advocacy. Get answers about how to get started as an advocate and learn tips on how to participate in other advocacy opportunities.
Monica Bryant, Triage Cancer
Monica Fawzy Bryant is a cancer rights attorney, speaker, and author, dedicated to improving access to and availability of quality information on cancer survivorship issues. Monica is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Triage Cancer a national nonprofit organization connecting people to cancer survivorship information through a national Speakers Bureau, educational events, and online tools. Monica’s strong advocacy background includes serving as Legislative Counsel for U.S. Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez and Law Clerk for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. During her time in Congress, Ms. Bryant focused on health, justice, civil rights, and women’s issues.
Heidi Adams, Critical Mass
Heidi Schultz Adams has been a patient advocate since surviving Ewing’s sarcoma in her mid-20s. Her career in advocacy began when she founded Planet Cancer, a pioneering non-profit community of support and advocacy for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Her groundbreaking work continued as a founding volunteer leader of the Young Adult Alliance (a program of the LIVESTRONG Foundation), a coalition of nearly 200 advocacy organizations and health care institutions working to improve the care and treatment of AYAs. Heidi joined the LIVESTRONG Foundation in 2009, rising to Vice President of Strategic Partnerships before returning to her passion of serving young adults as the first President & CEO of Critical Mass, the independent nonprofit that evolved from the Young Adult Alliance.
Karen Russell Mills, American Association for Cancer Research
Karen Russell Mills manages the AACR’s Survivor and Patient Advocacy program. She coordinates the association’s Scientist↔Survivor programs and updates the Survivor and Patient Advocacy information and resources on www.AACR.org. Mills is inspired by the personal stories of advocates and survivors she works with. Mills lives in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Michael Holtz, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network
Michael Holtz, APR, is a survivor and a motivational speaker and author of It’s Not Harder Than Cancer: The Mindsets You Need to Survive and Thrive After Serious Illness, in which he shares the life lessons he learned during his battle with stage-3b rectal cancer. He is a long-time public relations and marketing practitioner, currently working part-time for z11 communications. He works full-time as Director of Community Assessment and Health Promotion for the Knox County Health Department. Michaelis an active volunteer, serving as Tennessee State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. He blogs about his adventures after cancer at www.michaelholtzonline.com
Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES, State Cancer Coalition Coordinator, Tennessee Cancer Coalition
Cindy Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES works as a public health project director and consultant and currently serves as the Tennessee Cancer Coalition (TC2) Coordinator, with which she has been actively involved since 2005. She has contributed toward the development of three state cancer plans, served as primary writer and developer of the “ABC-123- Healthy Kids in Tennessee: Let’s Eat Well, Play, and be Aware, Every Day” program of TC2, and was a founding member of the TC2 Student Internship Committee. Cindy has participated in SURVIVORville annually since the inaugural event in 2013. She has a Master of Education in health promotion and education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, a Bachelor of Business Administration. from Middle Tennessee State University, and is Master Certified Health Education Specialist certified.