More than 1,300 brain tumor advocates flooded Congress with 4,567 messages asking for increased funding for brain tumor research
National Brain Tumor Society’s Head to the Hill is the brain tumor community’s signature annual advocacy event. Normally, we unite with hundreds of volunteer brain tumor advocates — consisting of patients, survivors, caregivers, family, friends, clinicians, and researchers — in our nation’s capital and take to the halls of Congress on Capitol Hill. But ensuring the health and safety of our community and participants during the COVID-19 pandemic meant we had to turn this year’s event — held on Monday, May 4 — into the first-ever all-virtual Head to the Hill.
While there are a number of very compelling reasons for hosting Head to the Hill, annually, as a largely in-person gathering — chief among them, the experience of building in-depth and lasting relationships and connection with so many others who truly understand what it’s like to be impacted by a brain tumor — there was a silver lining to this year’s event. Having an all-virtual event removed some of the barriers that can make it difficult for many to participate in a given year — including the time required away from work and/or treatment and the expense/difficulty of travel — and allowed more advocates from across the community to participate in a very meaningful way.
So, while we certainly missed being able to see everyone in person, this year’s event remained profoundly impactful. The brain tumor community, with its full commitment and resolve on display, turned up in droves to take action by emailing and tweeting their members of Congress. More than 1,300 advocates participated this year, sending more than 4,500 messages to Congress. Both figures far exceeded our previous high watermarks as well as our goals for this year, which were set for 500 advocates and 3,000 messages. And despite having to do so digitally, we also found ways to make important connections with other advocates during state group calls, on a mid-day Facebook Live check-in, during an end-of-day video call, and, of course, through powerful social media engagements.
Below are some of the sights and sounds from what was an inspiring and moving show of strength from the brain tumor community.
Advocates Tell the World Why We Head to the Hill