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Beads Of Hope Project

Rep. Constance A. Morella

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, lymphoma advocates are coming to Washington, DC for the 3rd annual Lymphoma Advocacy Day on April 25, 2001 to unveil a project that will put the rising incidence of lymphoma into perspective for Members of Congress and the public.

Mr. Speaker, according to the American Cancer Society, 1996 saw over 85,000 new cases of lymphoid malignancies in the United States. These included Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, the lymphocytic diseases known as CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) as well as multiple myeloma. Lymphoma is the second most rapidly rising cancer over the last 20 years. Sixty percent of all childhood malignancies are lymphomas or their cousin, leukemia.

The project being unveiled is called ``Beads of Hope'', it consists of a necklace of beads to symbolize the 64,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with lymphoma in 2001. Each bead represents one newly diagnosed person.

Mr. Speaker, these Beads of Hope have a story of their own that I would like to share, it makes me proud to be an American. The project was conceived by Karl Schwartz, whose wife, Joanne, is a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor. Karl circulated his idea over several lymphoma Internet list-servers and received an enthusiastic response. One member of his email group, Jessica Chen, took off with the bead idea, shared it with Debra of the Bead Fairies and received a donation for all 64,000 beads from The Beadery of Hope Valley, Rhode Island.

Email group members are volunteering to string beads in sections that will be brought to Washington, DC and assembled on Capitol Hill. Jessica estimates that when connected the necklace will be 600 yards long! At the suggestion of Cure For Lymphoma board member Katherine Adams, advocates will continue the theme by wearing beaded safety pins on their clothing and distributing pins to Members of Congress with whom they will be meeting on the 25th. Each bead on a pin will represent one year of being touched by lymphoma.

I ask my colleagues to show your support for this caring initiative by wearing these beaded pins. Make and distribute pins to your family, friends, business associates and Congressional reps. Carry the theme forward into National Lymphoma Awareness Week (Oct. 7-13).

I thank the Lymphoma advocates who have come to our Nation's Capitol, I thank the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America for all the hard work they have done to fight this dreaded disease. As you know I strongly support the increased funding of the National Institutes of Health, and hope to see its budget doubled over the next five years, and with that hopefully diseases such as lymphoma will become history.