When Capitol Hill heads to the races this Saturday, Jennifer Van der Heide and her merry band of joggers will have already won.
“Jennifer’s Joggers,” Rep. Mike Honda’s (D-Calif.) Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team, has raised well over $11,000 as of today — far more than the other Capitol Hill teams participating. (And y’all call yourself professional politicians! Tsk.)
The Congressional Budget Office — living up to its crazy reputation with its team name “Congressional Budget Office” — has raised the next highest amount and without a single offset.
Van der Heide, longtime chief of staff for Honda, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. In her honor, Honda and his office put together a team code-named after the chief and hustled to raise the funds.
“Given the estimated 207,000 new cases of breast cancer among U.S. women last year, I suspect that everyone knows someone that either has breast cancer, survived it or has passed away from it,” Honda says. “That is not a statistic I’m comfortable with, especially because it hits so close to home.”
The Congressman tells HOH that Van der Heide’s diagnosis (she is currently in recovery) has been difficult for the whole office.
Van der Heide’s illness “reminded us that not all women have equal access to care and treatment,” he says.
Well, Congressman, the picture of a muddy Van der Heide leaping over fiery coals leads us to believe if anyone can kick cancer’s arse while besting career fundraisers, she can.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.