Hundreds of bags decorated with the names of those who’ve fought cancer were displayed Sept. 25 at the Minnesota State Capitol to send a powerful message of hope and to remind Minnesota and national lawmakers about the importance of ensuring the fight against cancer remains a top priority.

As a result of cancer patients’ increased vulnerability to the coronavirus, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers didn’t travel for the annual Lights of Hope ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where tens of thousands of bags are displayed to honor cancer survivors and those lost to this horrible disease. Instead, Minnesota cancer advocates brought hope home to St. Paul with the touching tribute at the State Capitol.

“Every year, Lights of Hope sends an important message to lawmakers that we need their support in the fight against cancer. This year’s message is as important as ever,” said Cory Whiting, ACS CAN volunteer and Zimmerman resident. “Cancer patients and survivors need to know we’re still here advocating for them, for critical research funds and access to health care,” she added.

Whiting has seen the impact of cancer on families and knows the pain of losing loved ones to this disease. That’s why she’s fundraising for Lights of Hope, so ACS CAN may continue its mission of advocating for everyone affected by cancer, including the estimated 33,260 Minnesotans who will receive a cancer diagnosis this year.

“As we continue to emerge from the worst of the pandemic, I look forward to getting my neighbors, family members and friends in the Twin Cities metro involved in this heartfelt event to honor and remember our loved ones and their cancer fight, as well as remind everyone of the pandemic’s impact on cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and their families,” Whiting said.

As the organization marks its 20th anniversary this year, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society is as determined as ever to ensure cancer remains a top priority for policymakers at every level of government by empowering volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence public policy change that saves lives in Minnesota and nationwide.

For details on how to dedicate a Lights of Hope bag, contact Cory Whiting at or visit

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