The rally was heavily populated with cancer researchers who poured out of the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in the convention centre across the street. Organizers say that attendance hovered around 10,000. Others tuned in to the live webcast.
Speakers included actress Maura Tierney, on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), along with several members of Congress. They interspersed personal stories about battles with disease with calls for researchers to lobby Congress to spare the US National Institutes of Health from the mandatory cuts it faces as part of sequestration, an across-the-board 5% hit to agency budgets. “You are impossible to ignore,” urged Representative Rosa DeLauro (Democrat, Connecticut). “Do not take ‘no’ for an answer when you go to Capitol Hill.”