Five-time cancer survivor fights for legislation

MONONGALIA, W. Va. (WDTV) - One in eight West Virginians are cancer survivors.

One woman is using her story of survival to help fight for a cancer free West Virginia.

"I'm an example of having survived,"

Geri Angoli has battled cancer not just once, but five times throughout her life.

But it wasn't her own battles that inspired her to be an advocate.

"I decided when my daughter was diagnosed a number of years ago that I was going to do something," said Angoli "And advocacy seemed the way to go,"

As an advocate Angoli works with the American Cancer Society to help pass legislation and funding that supports the fight against cancer.

Meeting with the legislators face to face, Angoli says, is exciting.

"In many ways it's exciting because you meet people that you see on T.V. or who you voted for,"

Her goal as an advocate is not just to share her story but to convince law makers to vote in favor of legislation fighting cancer.

"All you try to do is convince them is that the best thing they can do for anybody is to promote cancer research to promote cancer bills,"

Angoli works alongside Juliana Frederick-Curry, the director of government relations for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.

Together they helped work to pass the "tanning bed" law, which prohibits minors from using tanning beds.

"Indoors tanning beds are class a carcinogens, the same cancer-causing category as tobacco," "And we really wanted to provide more protection for our youth when it comes to accessing a product like that," said Frederick-Curry

Now Angoli is also helping the American Cancer Society to recruit more advocates- she believes sharing personal stories is one of the most effective ways to impact lawmakers.

"I never realized how effective it is, when you go and talk to a legislator and they see you and you tell them your story," said Angoli "They think, 'huh, maybe this person knows what they're talking about,'"

Angoli says it's seeing a cancer-fighting bill pass that makes all the lobbying and hard work worth it.

"Then you think, I actually helped," Angoli said "And that's a biggie,"

The Cancer Action Network will be traveling to Charleston, Huntington and Martinsburg over the next couple of weeks to help recruit more advocates in their fight before the next legislative session begins.