Passion for Advocacy Drives Legislative Ambassador


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Melissa Butera - ACS CAN Ambassador and Cancer Fighter

(Poughkeepsie, NY)– March 31, 2011 – For Melissa Butera, becoming an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) legislative ambassador was natural, since she’s had family members and friends who have benefitted from an early cancer diagnosis.  Butera understands the power of working within various levels of government and the considerable positive impact one law or policy can have on public health.

“While I’m not a survivor myself, I’ve seen family and friends survive cancer because they had the knowledge to get regular cancer screenings and access to affordable health care,” Butera said. “There are many people who can’t advocate for themselves and someone needs to speak for them.”

As business and community relations specialist at Hospice, Inc., serving Dutchess and Ulster counties, 31-year-old Butera of Poughkeepsie is very familiar with the health care system and the challenges people face each day.  Many of the people served by Hospice are cancer survivors, adding to her understanding of cancer-related issues.  She is especially interested in quality of life issues, cancer research funding and early detection and prevention of cancer.

As a legislative ambassador, Butera’s role is to convey the ACS CAN position on a variety of issues to lawmakers on the federal, state and local levels.  Most recently, she’s been contacting members of the U.S. House of Representatives from the Hudson Valley urging them not to cut federal funding for cancer research and prevention programs. 

“I encourage others to get involved at some level, it doesn’t have to be a lot, even a small time commitment can make a difference,” said Butera. “People don’t realize how quickly a change can be made through laws and public policy that will reduce the burden of cancer on our communities.” 

In addition to her work with ACS CAN, Butera is an active participant in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, held each October. 

A fundraising event to benefit ACS CAN is being held on Sunday, April 10th at 7pm at The Bardavon in Poughkeepsie.  Tribute to Gene Krupa will feature world-famous drummer Arthor von Blomberg and a 16 piece orchestra from West Point. General admission tickets are $50, $35 for senior citizens, and are available through The Bardavon, UPAC Box Offices and Ticketmaster. For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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