Kathy Bates to be honored at Research!America advocacy awards dinner
Kathy Bates, award-winning actress and Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) spokesperson, will receive Research!America’s Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for raising the visibility of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases and advocating tirelessly on behalf of the patient community. The Rosenfeld Award is presented to individuals who have worked to effectively deliver medical or other health-related research advocacy messages to the public.
Bates, who developed lymphedema as a result of breast cancer surgery, will be honored at the 21st Annual Advocacy Awards at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The awards dinner, to be held on March 15, brings more than 400 leaders from government, industry, academia and health advocacy organizations together to recognize top medical and health research advocates, who have made an impact in advancing the nation’s commitment to research.
“Research!America is honored to recognize Kathy Bates for her steadfast commitment to finding cures for lymphedema and lymphatic diseases and increasing federal support for research,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO Research!America. “Ms. Bates has brought significant attention to lymphedema and lymphatic diseases through her advocacy work, engaging policymakers to accelerate research and innovation.”
Kathy Bates has publicly shared her fight with lymphedema, a chronic progressive lymphatic disease that results in disfiguring swelling in one or more parts of the body. An estimated 10 million Americans and 150 million people worldwide suffer from lymphatic diseases. Bates has brought lymphedema and lymphatic diseases into the spotlight in the media, including the first-ever profile of a patient receiving lymphedema treatment, which aired on CBS Sunday Morning. Her efforts to combat this disease extend far beyond those in the public eye. As a person who has lymphedema, Bates is intimately aware of the special struggles involved in having lymphedema. Her compassion is felt by the many patients who write to her and with whom Ms. Bates personally communicates.
Bates is a spokesperson of the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN), an internationally recognized non-profit fighting lymphedema and lymphatic disease through education, research and advocacy. In 2016, Bates and LE&RN representatives met with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). As a result, Sen. Schumer submitted an FY17 request to the Senate Labor-H appropriations subcommittee recommending lymphatic and lymphedema research funding to be appropriated to the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support extramural interdisciplinary research relevant to the lymphatic system in health and disease. In addition, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Grassley (R-IA) sponsored a LE&RN authored resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously, to establish World Lymphedema Day on March 6. Ms. Bates’ advocacy efforts with the New York State Senate and Assembly led to a $200,000 appropriation to support LE&RN’s International Patient Registry & Tissue Bank—the only one of its kind in the world.
Bates has traveled the country speaking at conferences and to groups such as the NIH, American Medical Association, Gordon Research Conferences, and American College of Phlebology. She has offered her support to domestic and international LE&RN Chapters that are growing around the world, including collaborating with LE&RN’s European Chapter to write “Fighting a Lymphedemic—Cancer and Beyond,” published in the Diplomatic Courier.
Other 2017 Research!America Advocacy Award honorees are Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH, who will receive the Legacy Award; Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Leland H. Hartwell, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and co-director of the Center for Sustainable Health at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and Virginia G. Piper Chair of Personalized Medicine; and The Lupus Foundation of America. More honorees will be announced in the coming weeks.