CHICAGO – Continuing her ongoing efforts to promote breast cancer awareness in Illinois, First Lady Patti Blagojevich on Monday joined Senate President Emil Jones, Senator Mattie Hunter, Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams, and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric Whitaker to unveil a new Illinois Lottery game called Ticket for the Cure - the nation’s first lottery ticket dedicated to helping fund breast cancer early detection, education, research, and patient services throughout the state. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women 20 years of age and older, with an estimated 9,000 women expected to be diagnosed in Illinois this year. In July, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation initiated by Senate President Jones and Senator Mattie Hunter that created the Ticket for the Cure.
"As a mother, I know that most women spend their time looking after everyone else. We have to realize that one of the best things we can do for our families is to keep ourselves healthy," said Mrs. Blagojevich "Breast cancer is a devastating disease that can affect any woman, at any time. One of the many things you can do to fight it is protecting yourself, and your loved ones by having regular screenings as it could mean the difference between life and death. The funds generated from the Ticket for the Cure will help fight breast cancer through early detection, education, and research - our best hope for finding a cure."
"We are incredibly pleased to launch this new ticket and play a part in the solution to a major crisis affecting so many throughout the state," said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. "We anticipate great success with this ticket and are hopeful that it will attract new players who will quickly discover how fun it is to play the Lottery. This type of player base expansion will help as we continue to make record contributions to the State Common School Fund."
The Ticket For The Cure is available at Illinois Lottery retail locations across the state today. Each ticket will cost $2 and have a top prize of $20,000. Net revenue from the sale of Ticket For The Cure tickets will be deposited into an interest bearing account in the State Treasury called the Ticket For The Cure Fund. The Illinois General Assembly will appropriate this money solely to the Illinois Department of Public Health who will award grants to public and private entities in Illinois for the purpose of funding breast cancer research, education and services for breast cancer patients and their families. All grants funded by Ticket For The Cure revenue will be reviewed and approved by a special advisory board called the Ticket For the Cure Board.
"Breast cancer affects many women in our state and nationwide. Awareness and education regarding early detection needs to be increased in every community, especially in the minority community. I believe that the Ticket For The Cure will further stress this importance and help to raise valuable funds that can be used towards addressing this health issue," said Senate President Jones.
"I have been a longtime health care advocate and have seen first hand the devastation that this disease can cause in families. The Ticket For The Cure will increase awareness and raise money in the fight against breast cancer and I am very proud to be a part of this effort," said Senator Mattie Hunter.
"The Illinois Department of Public Health is very excited about this ticket and the early detection, education, research, and patient service programs it will help to fund. Every dollar counts when you are trying to save lives," said Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric Whitaker.
The launch of the Ticket For The Cure builds upon the state’s ongoing breast cancer outreach efforts. In October 2005, Mrs. Blagojevich kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness month by launching the "Pink Potluck Initiative," which encourages First Ladies of African-American churches to host "Pink Potlucks," or social events that bring women together to discuss their health concerns, experiences and information related to women’s health. Mrs. Blagojevich also announced $700,000 in Penny Severns Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Research Grants and presented the People Are Today’s Heroes (PATH) Award on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to Dr. Olufunmilayo I. Olopade of the University of Chicago for her dedication to breast cancer research.
Governor Blagojevich has made significant contributions to promote and improve women’s health including:
· Stand Against Cancer Program: In 2003, Gov. Blagojevich funded the Stand Against Cancer Initiative (SAC), a community outreach and screening program targeting the hardest to reach minority women. It is conducted by a coalition of neighborhood organizations, churches and Federally Qualified Health Centers. In fiscal year 2005, SAC provided 7,500 screenings and reached more than 13,000 other women through educational programs and outreach.
· Increased funding for women’s health: Since taking office, Gov. Blagojevich has proven women’s health is a priority by increasing funding every year. In fiscal year 2006, he has included $4 million in state funding to support breast and cervical cancer screening and education.
· Investment in screening and education programs: In FY’05, the total amount of funds supporting breast and cervical cancer programs was $11.45 million including $6.15 million in state dollars. Over the last two years, investments toward breast and cervical cancer screening and education programs in Illinois totals more than $21 million. Gov. Blagojevich also passed legislation in December creating a 12-member Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force to help educate the public about cervical cancer and develop a statewide comprehensive prevention and control plan.
· Signed women’s health legislation into law: This summer, Gov. Blagojevich signed several pieces of legislation effecting women’s health in Illinois. The Ticket for a Cure is a new lottery game to raise money for breast cancer research. Senate Bill 12 requires insurance companies to cover screening for breast cancer earlier in a woman’s life if her doctor considers her to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. House Bill 3564 expanded the Penny Severns Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund to include ovarian cancer research. Senate Bill 521 requires insurers to provide coverage for ovarian cancer screening tests for women who are at risk.
· Breast and Cervical Cancer Funding: Provided funding to screen additional women for breast and cervical cancer. Nearly 39,000 women in two years, 44 percent of whom are minorities, received free screenings through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP).
· WISEWOMAN: Piloted the WISEWOMAN cardiovascular research project in DuPage County. The project is targeted toward women in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and helps them reduce heart disease by leading healthier lifestyles. It is now expanding to 19 counties.
· Women’s Health Education: Provided funding and support for community-based information and education programs. In fiscal year 2006, Women’s Health Initiative grants totaling $1.6 million in state funding were awarded to 77 local health departments and other non-profit organizations to fund educational programs focusing on cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, menopause and eating disorders.
· Women’s Health-Line: Increased access to services through Women’s Health-Line and other informational resources. In FY’05, the state-funded toll-free Women’s Health-Line responded to more than 2,000 requests, referring women to services and providing nearly 600,000 free educational materials to women and community providers. These materials are also available through the department’s website.
· Illinois Healthy Women program: The Healthy Women program has helped women across the state stay healthy by providing comprehensive reproductive health care coverage, including annual physicals, pap smears, mammograms, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives.
For more information on the Ticket For The Cure please visit Illinois Lottery’s Web site at www.illinoislottery.com <http://www.illinoislottery.com>. For more information on women’s health and programs visit www.idph.state.il.us or call the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only), 800-547-0466. You may also call the health-line to inquire about the availability of the wellness vans for Pink Potluck events.