Debbie’s Dream Foundation Inspires Over 130 Advocates at 11th Annual Stomach Cancer Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer (DDF) returned to Washington, DC, this March for the 11th Annual Stomach Cancer Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, 149 patient and caregiver advocates gathered to share their personal stories and advocate for an increase in federal funding for stomach cancer research.

DDF also hosted its inaugural Advocate Retreat, featuring presentations from the National Institutes of Health’s experts on genetics, nutrition, and mental health for stomach cancer patients, as well as an art therapy session led by Emily Lipson to discuss the importance of alternative therapies for overall well-being.

The event was a powerful reminder of the importance of advocacy and the potential positive impact it can have on the lives of stomach cancer patients.

Advocacy efforts from the DDF have paid off, leading to an incredible $30.7 million allocated to stomach cancer research funding through the PRCRP since FY 2015.

This success inspired the NCI to launch an Ad Hoc Working Group on Gastric and Esophageal Cancer in 2021, illustrating the tangible progress of DDF’s dedication to making a difference in the stomach cancer research and treatment space. DDF is proud to continue its efforts and watch the investments in stomach cancer research and treatments grow.

At the Stomach Cancer Foundation (DDF), we are committed to making our voices heard so that we can bring about meaningful change in the fight against stomach cancer. Through our advocacy efforts, we have been able to make a difference in the allocation of funds for stomach cancer research from the federal government.

Our hope is that our efforts will lead to improved treatment options, lower mortality rates, and ultimately, a cure for this disease in our lifetime.

The Digestive Disease Foundation (DDF) held an award ceremony to honor supporters of its advocacy efforts. This year, the Congressional Champion Award was presented to Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland and Senator Todd Young of Indiana, for drawing attention to stomach cancer and the need for more research.

The Legacy Impact Award was presented to Christy Leonard from North Carolina, for her dedicated leadership, commitment, and efforts to make a profound difference in the lives of those affected by stomach cancer.

Lastly, DDF acknowledged Gabrielle Pollack from Hoboken, New Jersey, for her winning entry in the 2022 Youth Art Contest. Gabrielle’s original artwork paints a picture of a world without stomach cancer.

This year’s Advocacy Day is supported by some of the biggest names in the medical industry, including Silver Sponsor Merck and Supporting Sponsor Stupid Strong. Our Advocate Retreat Platinum Sponsor Merck, Gold Sponsors Amgen and Astellas, and Bronze Sponsor Taiho Oncology, have all come together to make this event a success. Join us to show your support for the fight against cancer!

About Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer

DDF is on a mission to make the cure for stomach cancer a reality. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we are committed to raising awareness, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support to patients, families, and caregivers on a global scale. Let’s work together to make this life-changing breakthrough a reality.

Debbie Zelman was a pioneer in bringing awareness to the plight of stomach cancer patients worldwide and the lack of federal funding for stomach cancer research. After she was diagnosed with stage IV incurable gastric cancer in 2008 and given only weeks to live, Debbie founded the Debbie Zelman Foundation (DDF) in 2009.

Despite undergoing hundreds of rounds of chemotherapy and daily oral treatments, Debbie dedicated her life to her cause, and passed away on December 23, 2017 at 50. Her legacy lives on through DDF, which now has a Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of world-renowned doctors and chapters throughout the United States, Canada, and Germany. DDF carries on Debbie’s mission and strives to make her dream a reality.

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