‘Cancer doesn’t discriminate’: Hampton University students and advisors lobby at Capitol to bring proton therapy to Virginia

8News Digital Exclusive

Listen to Bill Thomas Jr. advocate for proton therapy treatment in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Bill Thomas Jr., Hampton University’s associate vice president for governmental relations, rallied students of the university Tuesday to lobby at the state Capitol in order to bring attention to a specific cancer technology.

“We are just trying to figure out how to communicate this particular matter to the General Assembly so they support it financially to save lives,” Thomas said.

Proton therapy is a radiation treatment that uses protons instead of x-rays to treat cancer. Thomas hoped to teach students a lesson in politics by bringing them to the Capitol to advocate for something positive.

“We are not building roads, we are not building casinos,” Thomas said. “We are trying to ease human suffering and save lives.”

Thomas says that listening to your doctors and staying on top of your health can be the first step in reducing cancer risk, but everybody who gets diagnosed with cancer deserves to have the option of proton therapy.

“We are trying to get the commonwealth to help us bring new technology to the Commonwealth of Virginia called proton therapy,” Thomas said. “We brought our students down here to talk about pediatrics. We brought our students down here to talk about the effect of cancer in our community, the whole community.”

He said both of his parents died from cancer, and his sister had breast cancer.

“It impacts me. I am very diligent about this,” Thomas said.

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