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Remarks on Accepting the "Sword of Hope" of the American Cancer Society Crusade.

March 25, 1969

I THANK YOU very much. We are very happy to have this sword among our mementos here at the White House, and when we see it we will think of you and your mother and father.

In accepting this sword and also in responding to the remarks that have been made, I think it is very appropriate to open this National Cancer Month with some statistics.

I was frankly surprised at what had happened, the progress that had been made, because, like most laymen, I have always felt that when we hear about cancer, it was assumed that it was incurable. I find that 1 1/2 million have been cured. I recall that when I came to the Congress 20 years ago, when I first met Mr. Elmer Bobst, one of the founders of the national Cancer Society, at that time one out of four were cured.

Since that time, and that is only 20 years, it is now down to one out of three have been cured of cancer. I understand that if the American Cancer Society's programs and other programs for getting people to take checkups and also for going forward in research are successful, that one out of every two who get cancer can be cured. That is the objective of this program and that is the program we are all supporting.

I think you have a very good slogan, too. As I understand it, it says that the people of the United States are told to help fight cancer by getting a checkup and sending your check.

In speaking of the checkups, too, I found another interesting statistic that I think will be of great interest to the American people, and particularly to the men who are listening to this program. I find that as far as checkups are concerned, 46 percent of all women get annual checkups, but only 13 percent of the men.

This is the great deficiency, a gap which exists there, as far as the checkups are concerned, which reminds me it is about time I got my checkup.

We do, by participating in this ceremony, want to indicate the Nation's support as well as the Government's support of this volunteer effort. Over 2 million volunteers will be distributing the booklets of the American Cancer Society, telling people the very simple things they can do to get a checkup.

This kind of volunteer activity and the fighting of this dread disease is a wonderful example for all of us who are working in government or in other fields. We thank you for coming--for reminding us of it.

I understand that Mrs. Nixon is the honorary chairman of the drive. You will have her complete support as well as mine.

Note: The President spoke at 4 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Television personality Virginia Graham, 1969 Crusade Chairman, introduced former cancer patient, 9-year-old Dyana Butler of East Point, Ga., who presented the symbolic "Sword of Hope" to the President. The President also received the first copy of an educational leaflet entitled, "If You Ignore It."

On March 25, 1969, the President signed Proclamation 3903 "Cancer Control Month, 1969."

An announcement of the ceremony inaugurating the drive is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, P. 476).

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Accepting the "Sword of Hope" of the American Cancer Society Crusade. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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