"22 Hours for 22 Million" Walking White House Vigil on 40th Anniversary of War on Cancer

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"Walking for 22 hours is nothing compared to the pain of those who have been touched by cancer," says Patti DiMiceli, organizer of the "22 Hours for 22 Million" Walking White House Vigil, mother of a daughter who died from cancer, and author of "Embrace the Angel," a book which chronicles their journey. Starting at 9 pm on December 22nd and ending at 7 pm on December 23rd, she and others will walk outside The White House to mark the 40th anniversary of the "War on Cancer," the day President Nixon signed the "National Cancer Act" and began the war.

40th Anniversary of the "War on Cancer" White House Vigil

To remember the 22 million people who have died... to honor the loved ones they left behind... to thank the millions who work hard each day to eliminate cancer from our lives and ease the suffering of those affected—that is why we walk.

In the U.S. alone, over 22 million people have died in the last 40 years since Nixon declared "War on Cancer" on December 23, 1971. It is a fact Ms. DiMiceli cannot accept and a date she will not ignore. "We cannot let those people who are suffering with cancer, those who have died and the loved ones they left behind, as well as the people who work hard every day to eliminate cancer be forgotten," she says, "While millions of Americans will be celebrating the holidays, millions more will not. They'll be missing their loved ones who have died. It's for them that we walk."

Ms. DiMiceli is asking President Obama to do something unconventional: End the "War on Cancer" and embrace the angel. "You can't use bullets, bombs, and war strategy to fight a disease," she says, "The very origin of the word 'war' comes from the Germanic base 'worse.' We are making cancer worse by declaring war on it." Well-known doctor and author Bernie Siegel, who was Amber's surgeon and wrote the Foreword to "Embrace the Angel," agrees. "We need to explore inner space and healing, not outer space and investing in wars."

In addition, DiMiceli is asking Obama to bring people together under one leader and one goal as a nation, as well as develop a Master Plan for Cancer. An idea that has not been voiced before, she suggests it include a detailed plan of a world without cancer. "When we eradicate cancer, we need to be prepared for the outcome: Re-structuring, unemployment, re-training, the impact on the lives of people involved, re-purposing hospitals, labs, cancer centers, etc." she says, "If we have no plan for a world without cancer, we will never eliminate it."

For the last 32 years, Ms. DiMiceli has been dedicated to raising awareness of cancer, finding a solution to the conflict, and speaking for the millions who have been affected. During the last months of Amber's life, DiMiceli documented her daughter's journey on audio and video tape, along with collecting newspaper articles and news clips as the media followed their story. Her website http://www.embracetheangel.com houses this collection, along with book excerpts, photos, and documents. After Amber's death in 1980, she began writing "Embrace the Angel," sharing her story with the world, and conducting workshops and presentations to elevate and inspire others to use tragedy as a catalyst for change.

In an interview with Channel 30 News in New Haven, CT, a few days before Amber died, Ms. DiMiceli demonstrate's the same passion and commitment to helping those who have been touched by cancer as she does today. In the news clip, she asks that cancer be an issue in the presidential campaign between then incumbent President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Today, she asks, "What plans do the current presidential candidates have to prevent, detect, treat, and cure cancer? How will they lead us to find an end to this epidemic?"

Ms. DiMiceli questions the leadership of the U.S. and will of the people to end this war. "Cancer has become accepted as part of our culture. If terrorists commandeered 6 Boeing 767's, carrying 250 passengers each, and crashed them into the ground every day, we would be shocked and outraged. We would ground the fleet, call out the troops, lock down and secure our borders, and spend trillions of dollars--whatever it takes to end the slaughter. Yet we allow 1500 people each day to perish. Why?"

With an average of 2 people dying each day in the "War on Terror," she believes the attention and resources are unbalanced. "Every single life is precious,” she says, "We need to increase our commitment and resources to cancer, to focus the same resources on cause and prevention as we do for treatment and cure. In 40 years, we've spent only $2,535,585 a year compared to the 10 year 'War on Terror' where we've spent $128,017,813,900 a year. It's time to take a hard look at our country's priorities and make some drastic changes."

Despite raising some controversial issues and asking pointed questions, Ms. DiMiceli is passionate about putting an end to fighting and beginning to “come to the table” to resolve the devastating effects of cancer on our nation and the world. In the “Pocket Brochure” she'll be handing out at the vigil, she explains why we should end the war and embrace the angel: “I believe it will take a radical approach to bring everyone 'to the table' to stop fighting amongst ourselves and start working together. I believe it will take a child.

Living with Amber—her courage, wisdom, and resolve to help others, I realized that this child can inspire us to come together for one purpose: To prevent cancer from killing another human being. A few days before she died, Amber told me why she came to this earth... why she was sent to us. 'Mom, I KNOW I'm here to help a lot of people.' It's time to stop fighting, end the war, and embrace this angel and her wisdom. If we come together, we can change the course of cancer.”

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