A bill that would allow people to donate to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition when they renew their driver’s licenses has been signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Senate Bill 445, sponsored by Senator Bob Mensch (R-Berks/Bucks/Montgomery), was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives on June 15.
Senate Bill 445, also known as ‘Breast Cancer Checkoff’ legislation, will allow people to check off an option to donate $5 to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, as they now can for the Veterans’ Trust Fund, pediatric cancer research and the Keystone Tree Restricted Account.
“The PA Breast Cancer Coalition has been instrumental in getting important legislation passed to provide coverage and screenings for women, most recently Act 52 of last year, which I sponsored, for insurers to cover MRIs and ultrasounds for women with dense breasts for the purposes of detecting cancer,” Mensch said. “Most importantly, they have always been committed to contributing to the cause, giving over $4.5 million to breast cancer researchers in the Commonwealth.”
Statistics show that one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. That is expected to amount to 276,000 new cases this year in the country and nearly 50,000 in Pennsylvania. The disease is expected to kill 42,000 women nationwide and 2,000 in Pennsylvania.
“The only way to find a cure for breast cancer is by supporting research. Senate Bill 445 will serve as a pathway from Pennsylvania research labs to breast cancer patients all over the world,” said Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition President Pat Halpin-Murphy. “We are grateful for the constant support of Senator Mensch and all of our state lawmakers who recognize the desperate need for this funding.”
Meanwhile, Carla Zambelli, a 10-year breast cancer survivor and blogger who lives in Chester County, was not impressed with the choice of charity named in the bill.
“Why not let us be able to choose regionally?” asked Zambelli. “Living Beyond Breast Cancer or BreastCancer.org, which are truly amazing organizations closer to home for me…And these were the non-profits I turned to when I was diagnosed. As a breast cancer survivor, I am not going to donate to a non-profit that means exactly zero to me.”
“Finally, if Pennsylvania wants to help combat cancer, then maybe the state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) could actually do its job consistently when it comes to toxic sites and people reaching out about them?”