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Running to Save Lives: A Daughter Remembers Her Dad
Runs in the Marine Corps Marathon on the Anniversary of his Death

jessica sargent w dad and shirt for race
Jessica Sargent models shirt for Marathon;
Inset: back of shirt in memory of her dad
Right: Jessica and dad dance at her wedding

Among the more than 30,000 runners who will participate in the Marine Corps Marathon  through Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. on October 25th, one 25-year-old woman will be running to save lives.  That’s because Jessica Sargent will wear the message that Heartburn can cause Cancer on her back in the hope that other families won’t have to suffer as hers did. 

The week before her May 2013 wedding, her father, Thomas “Burnzy” Burns was diagnosed with stage III esophageal cancer.  Despite aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, a 14-hour surgery and “his unwavering spirit,” her father passed away, Oct. 25, 2013.  He was 48 years old.

“Running has always been an outlet for me and it took on a new role in my life as I coped with the loss of my father,” said Sargent, an ER nurse at St Luke’s University Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“When I realized that the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon would take place on the weekend that marks the one-year anniversary of Daddy's death, I immediately knew that I needed to run it for him and all the other esophageal cancer patients that leave us too soon,” she added. “While training for this marathon, I feel very close to my dad – as though he is right there with me cheering me along with each step.”

Sargent has partnered with ECAN and created a fundraising campaign in conjunction with her participation in the marathon.  Gifts can be donated online at

“Together with ECAN, I can help make people aware that heartburn can cause cancer.”


GERD Awareness Week is coming up at Thanksgiving
Share a life-saving message with FREE posters
GERD Awareness Week poster

Once again ECAN offers these free, informative posters to anyone who wants to raise awareness about the link between GERD and Esophageal Cancer.

Post them at:

- your workplace

- your health club

- your place of worship

- your grocery store

- your favorite coffee shop

- your doctor's office

- your dentist's office

- your community center

- your school



New Congressional Caucus focused on
Deadliest Cancers

ECAN active member of coalition backing the effort 

deadliest cancers caucus briefing 6-19-14.jpgA bipartisan caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives has been formed to focus attention on cancers with a survival rate of less than 50%, including Esophageal Cancer.  The caucus was formed with the support of the Deadliest Cancers Coalition which is a collaboration of organizations, including ECAN, that are focused on these deadly cancers.

A briefing this week organized by the Congressional Caucus on the Deadlist Cancers drew a standing-room only crowd and featured remarks from co-chairs of the Caucus, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-CA, pictured here.

ECAN is working to increase membership in the caucus and will launch a campaign to raise awareness among members of Congress about the need for more resources and public awareness about Esophageal Cancer and other of the deadliest cancers.  You can participate in our advocacy effort by signing up here.


Campaign Addresses Medical Debt
ECAN to work with Patient Advocacy Foundation to increase support


One out of five Americans will face medical debt this year - and most of those folks have insurance. Medical expenses contribute to 62% of bankruptcy cases in the US.  Studies have shown that cancer patients are at higher risk for bankruptcy. 

But American bankruptcy laws provide no special treatment for debt  caused by medical expenses.  Among the goals of this campaign are: 1) provide homeowners filing for bankruptcy due to medical debt with protections so that they won't become homeless because they became ill, 2) provide protections for family members and other caregivers so that the illness of a loved one doesn't ruin the future of everyone who cares for them, and 3) increase opportunities for patients to maintain healthy credit ratings despite their illness.

The Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the medical debt burden faced by Americans by eliminating annual and lifetime caps on coverage and placing caps on the out-of-pocket expenses patients are expected to pay. But the issue remains a significant issue for many.  We are interested in your experience, let ECAN know how medical debt has affected you and your family.



including Testimony from Actor Valerie Harper
and NCI Director Harold Varmus







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