Each month, the Cancer Policy Institute profiles advocates who have been engaged in advocacy in their home state, their community, with elected officials, and more. Read on to learn more about our featured advocate for July 2019, and her background as a cancer survivor turned advocate. If you are interested in learning more about policy, advocacy, and ways to get involved, sign up to be a part of the Grassroots Network!
Heather Badt, Philadelphia, PA
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
First and foremost I am a mother to two teenage boys and a wife to my wonderful husband. We live in the Philadelphia suburbs where I was born and raised.
How did you get connected with the Cancer Support Community?
Three and a half years ago I was introduced to CSC when the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia (CSCGP) was offering a program. The group was called, Straight Talk about Cancer (STAC). This was happening right when my husband and I were both diagnosed with cancer a week and a half apart. I went to the affiliate to meet the staff and learn more about this program as well as their other services. I was completely blown away by this opportunity. The STAC program was a blessing for our family and truly altered the trajectory of our biggest concern, our children, while trying to focus on our cancer journey. I subsequently attended some CSCGP fundraisers and tried to raise awareness in my community about CSC.
Did you have experience with advocacy in any capacity before joining CSC? (E.g. legislator meetings, hosting educational events, writing letters or calling, writing pieces for media outlets, posting on your personal Facebook, sharing information with your community, etc.)
Through CaringBridge, LinkedIn, Facebook, support meetings, etc. I have been able to share about all of the amazing organizations that I've learned about over the course of my cancer journey. It's been nice to be able to give back to others using what I've learned from my experiences.
In what ways have you been involved with advocacy with CSC?
Prior to joining CSC as the Executive Director of the RTI last month, I had mentored and counseled friends and family with loved ones impacted by cancer. When I am in a position to share resources, one of the first things I share with them is information about CSC. In addition to that, my husband and I are currently on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Penn Medicine and participate in Esophageal Support Group sessions through Penn Medicine. These give us other outlets in which to share the value of CSC.
Is there one issue you are particularly passionate about?
One issue that I’m particularly passionate about is providing support for children when parents are going through cancer treatment. A close second would be the ability of families/caregivers to leverage tools such as MyLifeLine that offer invaluable resources to stay connected, informed and lend support.
What is one tip or piece of advice you’d like to share with others who are interested in becoming an advocate?
Every person has information, or a lesson, to share that is worthwhile. Advocacy doesn’t need to be a huge time investment. There are many ways to get involved, even on a small scale, and each way can make a meaningful difference.
Tell us something fun about yourself—any hobbies, interests, or fun facts?
Everyone in my house loves basketball. Our favorite time of the year is March Madness!