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Letter to the Editor: State needs cancer funding

Friday, June 26, 2009

Someone needs to teach Gov. Jay Nixon a lesson on both economics and values. Attempting to deny funds for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital demonstrates Nixon is incompetent at planning Missouri's budget and is too callous to care about life-threatening ailments that afflict Missourians and their families.

First, funding the hospital makes economic sense. Clearly, 0.13 percent of the state's $23 billion budget can be reserved for this indispensable project, especially since this money comes from the federal government's stimulus package. Does Nixon not realize that expanding a cancer hospital boosts the economy by providing construction jobs, luring doctors and support staff, and even attracting out-of-state medical students?

More importantly, providing essential care to those battling cancer is an absolute necessity. I lost two grandparents to cancer and saw another suffer through the horrible disease. Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services predicts this atrocious illness will claim the lives of 13,000 Missourians annually in addition to affecting countless family members and loved ones. Witnessing the tragic loss of human life alone leads any principled person to join the fight against cancer.

Unfortunately, Nixon's office intends to withhold funds for the cancer hospital. Although state Sen. Kurt Scheafer, R-Columbia, has made valiant efforts to secure this life-saving project, Nixon is proving to be incompetent at handling Missouri's budget and uncompassionate toward the needs of everyday Missourians. I urge all Missourians to call the governor's office (573-751-3222) and demand that we make cancer a tragedy of the past.

DANIEL WILLINGHAM, Cape Girardeau