Legendary newscaster Tom Brokaw shared the stage tonight in Washington D.C. with two lawmakers, Colorado’s Diana DeGette and Michigan’s Fred Upton, where they received Courage Awards for their efforts involving cancer.
Brokaw in 2013 with diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer. He talks about his journey in his memoir “A Lucky Life, Interrupted,”which has raised awareness about cancer.
DeGette, a Denver Democrat, and Upton, a Republican and chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee, have been universally praised for putting aside political pettiness to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which boosts federal funding for medical research, and speeds up federal approval for many new drugs and medical devices. The Senate is now debating the measure.
The program Tracy’s Kids was lauded for its effort in helping young patients cope with the stress and pain of cancer through art therapy. Brokaw said as he walked through the hospitals he would see bald-headed children and he yearned for them to enjoy the long life that he had.
“”What you do with Tracy’s Kids is give these families hope,” he said.
Brokaw talked about one grueling stage of his illness where he could barely walk to the corner to get a muffin and a coffee. At the end of the block was an advertisement featuring the quarterback of the New England Patriots in “all his Tom Bradyness,” Brokaw said. Every once in a while, Brokaw said, he dropped an “F” bomb” at the ad.
“That was an important part of my therapy,” he said, to laughter.
DeGette got just as big a laugh when she mentioned Denver also has had to deal with Brady. The Denver Broncos on Sunday defeated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 after first upending the New England Patriots on Jan. 14.
Brokaw described DeGette and Upton as the kind of people who come to Washington” to do good for people.” The pair received similar accolades last year last year when their measure passed.