Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: January 26,
Cancer Caucus Co-chairs say Loss of Sen. Kerr is a Call to Action
The co-chairs of Oklahoma’s Cancer Caucus said the
loss of Sen. Robert M. Kerr underscores the need to raise awareness about
cancer and use every resource possible to fight the deadly disease.
The organization was formed last June making Oklahoma only the third state
in the nation to have an official caucus to develop and pass legislation
dealing with cancer research, prevention and treatment. Sen. Debbe Leftwich,
D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, are co-chairs of the
“Senator Kerr’s passing is devastating and is a painful reminder
of how no one is immune to this terrible disease. In fact in the last
four years we’ve lost three members, including Senator Larry Dickerson,
my husband Keith and Senate Staffer Ron Henderson, to cancer,” said
Leftwich. “It’s hit our Senate family hard—but we are
by no means alone. Cancer impacts almost every family in our state sooner
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the number one health
concern among Oklahomans. It was estimated that during 2005 more than
18,400 Oklahomans would be diagnosed with cancer and more than 7,600 would
die as a result.
Rep. Steele agreed the latest loss in the State Legislature underscored
the need for the Cancer Caucus.
“Bob Kerr was deeply respected in both chambers of the Legislature
and his passing is a tremendous loss. I think it really drives home the
need for a Cancer Caucus to bring people together in a productive way
to do everything we can to fight this disease. It would be a tremendous
tribute to Senator Kerr,” Steele said.
Pat Marshall, State Director of Government Relations for the American
Cancer Society, said the organization has a goal of eliminating suffering
and death due to cancer by the year 2015.
“It is an ambitious goal—but one we feel can be achieved,
especially through the efforts of organizations such as Oklahoma’s
Cancer Caucus. I know that Senator Kerr had hoped to be a part of that
effort. It is an honor to continue the fight against cancer in his memory,”
more information contact:
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774