Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, who has been fighting breast cancer for 16 years (and is in recovery), has mobilized a 48-hour campaign, endorsed by the Blend and BlueNC, to gather 20,000 signatures to take to Senator Kay Hagan’s office on Friday to ask her to support a public health care plan. To the right are the faces of women in my community who are breast cancer survivors.

Millions of people want that option considered, and the stories of uninsured and underinsured women who don’t receive adequate care and die from breast cancer are striking.  Eighteen thousand people die in this country each year because they lack insurance. Jane:

So I started thinking — why do I care if there are more women in office if they don’t care about women’s issues?  What on earth would be the value of having a woman who saw her primary function in this battle as guarding the profitability of the insurance industry, as opposed to a man like Bernie Sanders whose commitment to a strong public plan has been one of the only firewalls in the Senate against this turning into nothing more than an insurance industry bailout?

…Women in Congress who will stand up and say “enough, there is a line I will not cross” are in short supply — even among our friends.

So together with  BlueNC and Pam’s House Blend, we reached out to my fellow breast cancer survivors in North Carolina. Women like Hazel and Connie, Juanita and Gail and Patricia and Yvette.  Dorrita, Connie, Linda and Lotie.  Mary, Pepper, Waddeah and Felicia.  Women who have triumphed, women who have fought breast cancer and won.  Women of all ages and races and sexual orientations who are not afraid to tell the truth and speak up on behalf of other women.

Because many of our sisters did not survive.  Getting early treatment is critical to recovery, and women often put off getting exams if they don’t know how they’re going to pay for them.  

Young African American women are twice as likely to die of breast cancer as young white women, and are five times as likely to suffer delays in getting treatment.

Kay Hagan has been the sole obstacle keeping a public plan from coming out of the Senate HELP Committee.   On Friday,  Pam Spaulding and breast cancer survivors of North Carolina will go to Kay Hagan’s office carrying their signatures and those of the people who stand with them, asking Hagan to stand with us, too.  We want to get 20,000 signatures of support for them to deliver in the next 48 hours.  

Stand with breast cancer survivors of North Carolina. Please sign the petition.