One Degree Rally to promote cancer research funding

3rd Friday 1

Among speakers at One Degree, a rally planned Wednesday night to draw attention to the need for more federal funding for cancer research, will be a 38-year-old who expected to die from cancer before she reached 27.

Joan Warton of Salisbury will tell her story at the event, at Headquarters Live, where supporters will rally to urge federal lawmakers to invest $1 billion in cancer research during two years.

Wharton, an American Cancer Society volunteer ambassador, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma that spread to her liver, bone marrow and lymph nodes when she was 26.

She’s now 38, married and the mother of a 10-month-old boy.

“I fought for almost a year, receiving chemotherapy. Due to the hope that I received from knowing there were organizations out there like the American Cancer Society who were working daily to find better treatments and ultimately a cure, this is what kept me fighting on those days I was so weak, sick and tired,” Wharton stated in a news release.

Other cancer survivors will speak at the event, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Headquarters Live.

Participants can sign petitions and a banner urging Congress to make cancer research funding a priority. U.S. Congressman Andrew Harris has been invited.

One Degree  is one of nearly two-dozen events nationwide to kick off a joint effort of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network  and Stand Up To Cancer. It is being held in conjunction with the Wicomico County Relay For Life Kickoff.

The news release stated  federal funding for medical research has “declined more than 24 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2003, forcing cancer centers to halt promising clinical trials and drying up the grant pool relied upon by researchers.

“One Degree brings the voices of millions of people affected by cancer to lawmakers with the message that Congress must boost the federal investment in cancer research,” it states.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network  and Stand Up To Cancer have a website,, where names of  loved ones with cancer can be entered on an electronic petition that will be sent to Congress. The web site also has videos featuring actors Bill Hader and Rob Riggle.

The Relay For Life kickoff, at the same time as One Degree, is open to the public and will feature music by Tom Bryant, a cash bar, snacks and prizes.

Relay For Life of Wicomico County is one of the largest relays on Delmarva and is scheduled for Oct. 2 at Winterplace Park.

Last year, more than 3,000 attended and raised $240,000. See

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