WASHINGTONFour members of Congress received the Paul E. Tsongas Award from the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America during a Capitol Hill ceremony. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding legislative leadership and commitment in support of the health care issues that result in improving the quality of life for all Americans.
The recipients of the 2000 Tsongas award were Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) and Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Representatives Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) and John Edward Porter (R-Ill).
The award was established to honor the late Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate, who served as the Foundations honorary chair from its creation in 1991 until his death from lymphoma in 1997.
About 54,900 new cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and 26,100 deaths from the disease are expected in the United States during 2000.
While strides are now being made in the fight against cancer, as evidenced by some cancers whose incidence rates are declining, the incidence rate of lymphoma is actually increasing at an alarming pace, said Donna Shu, the Foundations executive director.
Rep. Porter, chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that handles the National Institutes of Health budget, is retiring after 11 terms in Congress. He noted that NIH funding for cancer research has increased 60% since he assumed the subcommittee chairmanship.
When he retires at the end of the current congressional session, he said, I hope that we can leave in place the third year of the 5-year plan that will double NIH funding in cancer research.
Sen. Reid noted that polio, once a scourge, is now on the verge of being eliminated as a public health threat worldwide. I hope that in the near future, we will look back at lymphoma, Alzheimers, and Parkinsons as we look back on polio, as something that can be eliminated through research, he said.
Rep. Kennedy received the Tsongas award for the second year in a row. He was instrumental recently in getting the National Cancer Institute to establish a progress review group to study the status of NCIs lymphoma research program.
Sen. Boxer was unable to attend the awards ceremony.