CHICAGO – Kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Illinois, First Lady Patricia Blagojevich, joined by Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams, and Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric Whitaker, unveiled the newly designed Illinois Lottery game Ticket for the Cure. Launched last January, Ticket for the Cure is the nation’s first lottery ticket dedicated to helping fund breast cancer early detection, education, research, and patient services throughout the state. So far, the ticket has raised more than $3 million to support the fight against breast cancer in Illinois.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Illinois women. Almost 9,000 women will develop breast cancer and approximately 2,000 will die from the disease in 2006 alone.
Last year, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed the law initiated by Senate President Jones and Senator Hunter to create the Ticket for the Cure. The ticket marks a first time in US Lottery history where 100 percent of proceeds will support programs and research initiatives to help diagnose and treat this deadly disease. Net revenue from the sale of Ticket for the Cure is awarded to not-for-profit institutes and organizations to fund breast cancer research, education and supportive services, including childcare services, for breast cancer patients and their families in Illinois.
“Every day, this horrible disease claims the lives of so many women. When it comes to breast cancer, early detection and screening is the key to survival,” said First Lady Patricia Blagojevich. “Efforts like the Ticket for the Cure help educate women about the importance of an early detection and provide critical funding for research that will hopefully one day find a cure for this deadly disease.”
“The people of Illinois can be proud today knowing that the money they helped raise will go towards educating all communities about the importance of early detection,” said Senate President Jones. “Breast cancer affects thousands of women in our state. It’s obvious that this health issue is one of great importance.”
“We exceeded our projected annual revenues in a little over nine months,” said Superintendent Adams. “We are incredibly pleased with the outpouring of support we’ve received from our players throughout the state for such an important cause.”
“The incredible success that the Ticket for the Cure initiative has had during its first ten months alone will fund community and research grants that will ultimately save women’s lives. It also has raised public awareness of the deadly disease. The outpour of support for Ticket for the Cure shows that the public sees breast cancer research as a relevant, vital, and lifesaving use of funds,” said Senator Hunter, the sponsor of the bill that created the Ticket for the Cure.
The newly designed Ticket for the Cure is available at all Illinois Lottery retail locations across the state. Each ticket costs $2 and has a top prize of $20,000.
“The more awareness we can bring to breast cancer, and the more financial resources we can make available for funding breast cancer research, the better chance we have of finding a cure. The new Ticket for the Cure can help with both awareness and funding,” said Dr. Eric E.
Whitaker, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Proceeds from the Ticket will be used for grants, issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, for support services to help breast cancer patients and their families as well as research.”
Institutions and organizations with a not-for-profit status of 501(c) (3) based in Illinois are eligible to apply for and receive funds. The Ticket for the Cure Board in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health, are currently developing the criteria and process for selection.
“Ticket for the Cure has made it possible for community organizations to receive grants in order to increase awareness about the risks of breast cancer and knowledge of options available to manage breast cancer,” said Leonard Thomas, Chair of the Ticket for the Cure Board. “I am hopeful that, through these grants, we can help support women and their families as they deal with such a devastating disease.”
Ticket for the Cure builds upon the state’s ongoing breast cancer outreach efforts. In October of 2005, Mrs. Blagojevich launched 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. Governor Blagojevich also recently announced the expansion of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) enabling up to 3,000 more uninsured, low-income women in the state to be eligible for free cancer screenings and treatment. The expanded program began enrolling uninsured women in September.
Since the Governor took office in 2003, the State has given more than 125,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings through Illinois Department of Public Health programs, including more than 82,600 screenings provided for nearly 42,000 women through IBCCP.
Gov. Blagojevich has made other significant contributions to promote and improve women’s health, including:
- Illinois Healthy Women program: Governor Blagojevich created the Illinois Healthy Women program, which has helped women across the state who are losing their Medicaid eligibility stay healthy and promoted healthy births by providing comprehensive coverage for reproductive health care, including annual physicals, Pap smears, mammograms, screening and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives. More than 214,000 women have been offered this program since its inception in 2004.
- Increased funding for women’s health: Governor Blagojevich has consistently made women’s health a priority, allocating $24.1 million in state funding for women’s breast and cervical health programs over the last four years. This year, Governor Blagojevich allocated $2.1 million in new funding to increase eligibility for life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings to women with incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Signed women’s health legislation into law: Gov. Blagojevich signed several pieces of legislation affecting women’s health in Illinois. The “Ticket for the Cure” is a new lottery game to raise money for breast cancer research and services. 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 and renamed 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. In 2004, Gov. Blagojevich also signed legislation 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.
- Stand Against Cancer Initiative: Beginning in 2003, Gov. Blagojevich funded the Stand Against Cancer (SAC) initiative, 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 2006, SAC provided more than 18,880 breast and cervical cancer screenings and reached more than 157,731 other women outside of IBCCP through educational programs and outreach.
- Hispanic Breast and Cervical Cancer Initiative: In 2005, Gov. Blagojevich launched the Hispanic Breast and Cervical Cancer initiative, which is closely patterned after the Stand Against Cancer initiative. Women screened through the initiative who subsequently need diagnostic tests are referred to local IBCCP lead agencies.
- Illinois WISEWOMAN Program: Providing the WISEWOMAN cardiovascular research program in both English and Spanish languages in 21 Illinois counties. The project is targeted toward women enrolled in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and helps them reduce heart disease by leading healthier lifestyles.
- Women’s Health-Line: Increased access to services through Women’s Health-Line and other informational resources. In FY06, the state-funded toll-free Women’s Health-Line responded to more than 2,000 requests, referring women to services and providing more than 223,757 free educational materials to women and community providers. These materials are also available through the department’s website.
For more information on the Ticket for the Cure
please visit the Illinois Lottery Website at www.illinoislottery.com
Women can find out how to get breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment through the IBCCP by logging on to www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov
. 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.