Last month, I testified before the Seattle City Council to encourage their support of the neonicotinoid ban on city property. They allowed 2 minutes of testimony and at the end I wanted to add a personal message but did not get the opportunity. With October and cancer awareness in full bloom, I’d like to share what I didn’t say to the City Council.
I didn’t tell the council the extent that my family has been impacted by cancer. With October comes the ‘pink washing,’ which can over shadow the need to address the underlying causes of cancer. According to the President’s Cancer Panel, environmental cancer risk has been vastly underestimated; this includes cancer caused by harmful chemical pesticides. By working at NCAP, I am part of the effort to reduce these environmental toxins.
At the age of 40, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat that cancer and went on to fight cancer two more times! Later, my husband, sister and father would also be diagnosed. My father lost his fight. As each opportunity comes to speak publically about protecting people from harmful chemicals, I always think of my family and what has gone unsaid.
In Seattle, I didn’t tell the council that every time my son gets a nosebleed I start to think the worst. I didn’t tell the council that I am deeply grateful for even the small steps they take to prevent the use of unnecessary pesticides. I didn’t thank the council for questioning the arguments from the chemical companies. I didn’t tell the council that my work at NCAP means I will hopefully prevent others from dealing with this mostly preventable disease.
I share this information publicly because we need to get off the chemical treadmill. There are little things we can do to prevent illness: eat well, don’t smoke, exercise, remove your shoes in the house. There are also bigger steps we can take: end our reliance on harmful chemicals. At NCAP, our mission is to promote alternatives and move beyond the need for unnecessary interventions. We have answered the call to this important mission and I hope you will too.