A picture of Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Orrin H.
Republican UT

About Sen. Orrin
  • Morning Business

    by Senator Orrin G. Hatch

    Posted on 2015-01-06

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    HATCH. Mr. President, it is with a heavy heart that I rise to convey to my colleagues news of the tragic death of Sylvia Rickard--one of the Nation's top breast cancer advocates--a woman so full of life and joy, so deeply immersed in the science of her passion, that it is impossible to imagine this sad, sad occurrence.

    Sylvia was truly an amazing person who touched many lives. I first met Sylvia when she visited my office so many years ago to educate me on the need for more breast cancer research, for better breast cancer screening, and for better patient navigation. Sylvia, herself a two- time survivor of breast cancer, and later of ocular melanoma, made sure that my staff and I, and indeed all of the Utah and Idaho delegations, regardless of party, were kept apprised of the latest developments in breast cancer research. She patiently walked us through the science behind the research--a science she made it her business to know in great detail.

    Sylvia was such a good advocate because she had fought this dread disease, and won. Not once, but twice.

    [[Page S10]] Moreover, Sylvia, and her husband Rick, became friends to all--to me, my staff, and to my former staff--here in Washington, and in our beloved State of Utah. She always had a smile and a hug for everyone.

    Sylvia made it her business not just to talk the talk, but also to walk the walk. She was a past president of the Women's State Legislative Council in Utah, a bipartisan group of women who meet to discuss issues of importance to Utah and the Nation. She also was the founder of the Utah Breast Cancer Network, and the president of the Hispanic Health Care Task Force in Utah. Sylvia became involved in building awareness at the local level, as well as the national level. Indeed, she was very proud to have been selected to be an advisor to the National Institutes of Health--a remarkable recognition of her top- ranked talent. She was involved at all levels in advocating for better biomedical research, better support for that research, and for a nonpartisan, commonsense approach to a disease that is now expected to affect one in eight women over their lifetimes.

    I recall the twinkle in Sylvia's eye when top experts at the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City sought her knowledge about eye cancer, after she was treated successfully. She had found a surgeon in another State who could treat her without the certain loss of her eye, and she helped to connect the physicians so they could learn from each other.

    It was a great loss to Utah when Rick Rickard built Sylvia the house of their dreams for retirement in Boise, ID this past fall. But we were all happy they had achieved their dream. I heard she was absolutely delighted to cook in her new kitchen. I am so pleased she at least got to spend a few months in their new home, one they had worked for so hard over so many years finally to achieve.

    So our hearts go out to the Rickard and Garcia families, to Sylvia and Rick's two sons, Richard, Jr. and David, and to the many millions of others whose lives have been made better by the significant achievements of my friend, Sylvia Rickard.


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