Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness Awards luncheon celebrates 25 years

Cassie Smith

Congressional Families: Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon 2017A bipartisan, bicameral group of cancer prevention supporters gathered in the beautiful Members Room of the Library of Congress on September 27 to celebrate the silver anniversary of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program’s Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon. The unique event annually recognizes Congressional spouses, distinguished journalists and leading advocates for using their respective platforms to help educate the public on cancer prevention.

The theme of “Catch the Wave of Prevention” illustrates the momentum that can draw from the sharing of knowledge, inspiration and action on cancer prevention and wellness. This year’s honorees exemplify the positive impact of this force: Sarah Hospodor-Pallone (spouse of Rep. Frank Pallone, D-NJ). Marie Royce (spouse of Rep. Edward Royce, R-CA), Laurie McGinley, health/medical reporter for The Washington Post, and Sun Bum®.

Congressional Families Executive Director Lisa McGovern welcomed attendees, taking a moment of silence to recognize those in Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas devastated by the recent hurricanes. Investigation Discovery Channel’s Paula Zahn, who herself was once recognized with the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award, served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Prevent Cancer Foundation® President Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé spoke about the Foundation’s history.

Leader Nancy Pelosi offered remarks on the important contributions of each of the honorees, the Congressional Families Program and the cancer community.

Sarah Hospodor-Pallone and Marie Royce were each presented with the Congressional Families Leadership Award for their work as members of the Congressional Families Program Executive Council. In addition to creating and steering educational programing, both women have long supported Program and Foundation events.

Laurie McGinley was honored with the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award for her years of experience in health care reporting, particularly on new and traditional cancer treatments and their impact on patients. During her remarks, she noted several stories she has covered that made a lasting impact on her and touched on several topics she’d like to cover in the future.

Tom Rinks, president/founder of Sun Bum®, and Drake Rinks, executive director of its nonprofit, Protect The Groms, accepted the Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award. The innovative sunscreen company uses its social media presence to encourage sun protection, and Protect The Groms partners with schools to provide shelter, sunscreen and educational materials to keep children safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Tom remarked on how the company started as a way for his own family and friends to protect their loved ones from the sun, where growing up in a coastal community in California, they inevitably spend a great deal of their time. Drake Rinks spoke passionately about Protect the Groms’ work to motivate young adults and kids to protect their skin.

Twenty Members of Congress attended, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). More than 40 Congressional and diplomatic spouses attended, as well as several Ambassadors.