Lisa McGovern Headshot

If you guessed the future Olympics will be held in Monaco, covered by FOX News , with Members of the House and Senate competing to qualify…. sorry to disappoint.  But the correct answer is just as compelling!

On Thursday, September 20, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program will host its 20th annual awards luncheon on Capitol Hill, honoring a league of extraordinary gentlewomen. For twenty years, the program has selected Congressional spouses, journalists and public figures who have used their talents and visibility to raise awareness about cancer prevention. It’s a distinguished list, and this year’s honorees enhance it beautifully.

Olympic swimmer Dara Torres will join the list of recipients of the Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award winners for her work to raise awareness about colorectal cancer, the disease that took her father. Dara will also be recognized for the role she plays in modeling and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.  Excellence is the perfect word to describe this incredible woman who has competed in 5 Olympics, medaling 12 times. At 45 years of age, Dara narrowly missed – by .09 seconds! – qualifying for the 2012 London games, competing against women less than half her age.

We will also honor Jennifer Griffin who as a journalist who covered combat in places like Gaza and Afghanistan is no stranger to war zones. When diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer, the war zone was within her own body and the enemies were the cancer cells. Jennifer defeated her cancer while covering two wars, raising three small children and blogging about her experience to educate and help others. A national security correspondent for Fox News Channel, Jennifer will be presented with the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award.  Distinguished indeed.

Our Congressional Families Leadership Award will be presented to Marcelle Leahy, a former nurse that was successfully treated for melanoma and has used her story and platform as wife of Senator Patrick Leahy (Vermont) to educate others. Long time friend of the Congressional Families Program Barbara Morris Lent will also receive the Leadership Award for her years of support on the program’s executive council. This honor is especially poignant as Barbara lost her beloved husband of 32 years, Representative Norman Lent (former Member from New York), in June to cancer.

To close out the program – which will be led by Discovery ID’s Paula Zahn, who has emceed most of our 20 lunches – we are giving a Special Recognition Award to Ellen Noghès, wife of H.E. Gilles Noghès, Ambassador of Monaco.  Ellen has faced three separate cancer diagnoses and recognized the need for support:  giving it and getting it. In each diplomatic post, she brought together others in the diplomatic community facing cancer to share stories and strength. Ellen and her husband have also helped raise awareness and crucial funds for cancer prevention and detection programs, as well as medical research, through their involvement with the Prevent Cancer Foundation Spring Gala.

We are thrilled to showcase the talents of these five women, thank them for their efforts and celebrate our shared mission of raising awareness to help prevent cancer. This truly is a Dream Team.