Advocate Spotlight: Rachel Solomon

October 14, 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got connected with the Cancer support Community.

For the overwhelming majority of my life, I have lived within the DC area. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and then attended the University of Maryland (go Terps!) before moving into DC proper. I love to travel, and also enjoy taking advantage of all the activities and offerings that DC has to offer.

I have been involved in the cancer nonprofit world for the past 8 years, since I experienced a cancer diagnosis personally. In my junior year of college, I noticed some unusual lingering symptoms and due to a family history of Crohn’s disease I underwent a colonoscopy. Everything appeared normal except for one polyp that they removed, and I went about my life preparing to leave for study abroad later that semester. Unbeknownst to me at that time, the polyp that was removed and biopsied was revealed to be a rare neuroendocrine tumor (carcinoid tumor). I was so dumbfounded when I heard the news, and so many thoughts raced through my mind. I was only 20 years old, how could this happen? Luckily, I was incredibly fortunate with both the timing and the location of the tumor itself. I was able to undergo a minimally invasive robotic surgery, without any additional adjuvant therapies, and was able to still spend an incredible semester abroad.

As a Government and Politics major, I had known I wanted to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, so when I returned to school for my senior year, I decided I wanted to focus in on cancer advocacy. For nearly a decade I’ve done just that, primarily in roles working with patient advocate programs and engagement. In September 2019, I joined the Cancer Support Community as the CPI Policy Manager and am very excited to continue working on behalf of the patient community.

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.)

I’ve been fortunate in my previous roles to accompany both first time and experienced advocates to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislative offices, as well as support advocacy trainings and educational programs.

Is there one issue you are particularly passionate about?

Having been diagnosed with cancer at 20 years old, Adolescent & Young Adult and survivorship issues are particularly close to my heart.

What is one tip or piece of advice you’d like to share with others who are interested in becoming an advocate?

Now is always the perfect time to get involved! While becoming an advocate may feel intimidating, remember that your voice matters and that your legislators work for you. If today is the day you decide to become an advocate, I encourage you to join the Grassroots Network and make your voice heard!

Tell us something fun about yourself—any hobbies, interests, or fun facts?

I love trivia and learning random facts. In high school I competed in the DC-area show It’s Academic (we lost in spectacular fashion) and I have dreams of competing on Jeopardy!