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Personal push helps light the way for cancer treatment, research

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CHASEBURG, Wis. (WXOW) – A local cancer advocate will help highlight the continuing drive for government support of research and treatment efforts as part of an illuminating nationwide ceremony.

Linda DeGarmo is among those in Wisconsin who will bring bags bearing the name of those who have battled or are battling cancer that will be lit and displayed at the State Capitol this weekend. The traditional Lights of Hope ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic. A virtual display on Saturday will replace the annual gathering in Washington, D.C.

DeGarmo, who is part of the Cancer Action Network, said the display coincides with an annual lobbying event with federal lawmakers. She added that their form of personal advocacy creates real change.

“We lost a nine year old daughter back in 1978, and that hurts everyday,” said DeGarmo. “[Lawmakers] have hearts too, so you get a mom sitting here with tears rolling down her face; what are you going to do? You're going to say, 'Okay, what can I do for you?'”

One recent success the group points to is the STAR Act, a 2018 law that seeks to create better treatments and screenings for children battling cancer.

Introduced in congress in 2017, the act was pushed for by advocates, including DeGarmo.

They won bi-partisan support with 55 Senators and 371 Representatives as co-sponsors. It was then signed into law by President Trump the follwing year.

You can watch this year's Lights of Hope event online at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Chaseburg will also host a modified version of its Sole Burner event supporting the American Cancer Society on Saturday, Sept. 19. The event will follow COVID-19 guidelines beginning at 11 a.m. in the Chaseburg Village Park.

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Dustin Luecke

Dustin Luecke anchors the News 19 6 pm and 10 pm Reports.

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