Monique

On November 19, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program hosted its 21st Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon. House and Senate Members, spouses, diplomats and cancer advocates were greeted by silken charcoal gray table cloths, gray pashmina covered chairs and green berried floral arrangements – a nod to the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s green and gray signature colors.

The awards luncheon is one of the most popular events of Congressional Families Cancer Prevention – a year round bicameral bipartisan program of Prevent Cancer – held to raise awareness about cancer prevention and early detection. Each fall, a congressional spouse, distinguished journalist and leading advocates are recognized for using their platform to help educate the public.

This year, as every other year, we highlighted the efforts of some amazing people. Landra Reid (wife of Sen. Maj. Leader Harry Reid, Nev.) was presented with the Congressional Families Leadership Award by Sen. Mark Pryor of Ark. who was a great personal support to Landra throughout her treatment. In accepting her award she called for continued strong support for federally funded cancer research.

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell received the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award from congressional spouse Debbie Dingell of Mich. Andrea publicly announced her diagnosis on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” using her platform to raise awareness among her many viewers. Andrea called the public to action emphasizing that “Screening matters. Just do it.”

Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller was recognized for Excellence in Cancer Awareness. For years, Shannon has inspired people – especially young girls and women — as America’s most decorated gymnast. Following her diagnosis of and treatment for a rare ovarian cancer, Shannon used her champion’s mindset to compete against cancer. As President of Shannon Miller Lifestyle, she advocates for early detection, awareness and helping women to make their health a priority. Congressional spouse Kitty Crenshaw of Fla. presented the award.

A Special Recognition Award was given this year to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Healthy Base Initiative, a pilot program that encourages good nutrition, active lifestyles and tobacco-free living on 14 military installations. The initiative is aimed at family members as well as military and civilian personnel. The initiative perfectly sums up this year’s luncheon theme: “Highlighting Health At Home and At Work.”

Jennifer Griffin who covers the Pentagon for Fox News Channel served as Master of Ceremonies. Recognized with the Distinguished Journalism Award in 2012, Jennifer shared her story of battling triple negative breast cancer while raising three young children and covering two wars.

About twenty members from the House and Senate including Sens. Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy and Reps. Nancy Pelosi, John Dingell, Jim McGovern and Ander Crenshaw. Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero attended with his wife Laura Denise; other foreign diplomatic spouses included Lady Susie Westmacott of England, Rosa Djalal of Indonesia and Laura Medina-Mora of Mexico.