November 15, 2018

Cortez Masto Remarks Honoring Reno Health Care Advocate Emily Fay Reese

She was a Battle Born woman and she bore her fight against cancer and for healthcare for every American with grace, dignity, and courage 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) spoke on the Senate floor to honor her friend and courageous advocate for protecting healthcare for every Nevadan, Emily Fay Reese, from Reno. Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery: 

I rise today to honor my dear friend, Emily Fay Reese, who passed away on November 3rd at age 44 after eight years of battling colon cancer.

Emily was a source of strength and a beacon of light in the Reno community. She radiated love and kindness to every person she met, and her loss will be felt by every single person whose life she touched. 

She loved and adored her three children, Madeline, KJ and Thomas, who are her living legacies and testaments to the amazing person that Emily was.

‘Live Life, Love Life, and Impact Others’ – these are words that Emily lived by and wanted to share with the rest of the world. During her life, she embodied this simple message – giving life and love; doing all she could to make a difference in the lives of others.  

She did this first as a public school teacher and after her cancer diagnosis, she became a person on a mission to educate us all about the importance of accessible, affordable and quality health care for everyone.

Before her passing, Emily wished for her friends and family to honor her by voting. She recognized how consequential elections are to build a better future for her children and her country. And Emily was proud that she was able to vote early and cast her ballot to make sure her voice was heard in Nevada. Even in the final days of her life, she continued to fight for all of us.

Her advocacy was one way for her to impact others, and she fought to protect the healthcare of Nevadans by using her diagnosis to openly talk about what it’s like to live with a terminal diagnosis and the difference that the Affordable Care Act has made in extending and improving the quality of her life. She reminded us how the ACA meant that she could spend her time with her children instead of worrying about bills and bankruptcy.  

The last time I saw Emily was here on Capitol Hill just a few months ago. She was advocating on behalf of our fellow Nevadans who rely on Medicaid to get the care they need. She was here to oppose massive funding cuts to the program that she said was saving her life.

She was here to speak out against a lawsuit that would takeaway protections from Americans with preexisting conditions, and fight for people like her who didn’t have a voice. She was a Battle Born woman and she bore her fight against cancer and for healthcare for every American with grace, dignity, and courage. 

She was a fighter, a mother and a friend. And I will forever be grateful for the time she spent to give voice to the voiceless and for her commitment to bettering the lives of those who, like her, needed their healthcare protected. 

Today, and every day, I honor Emily’s memory and continue the fight to protect healthcare for every Nevadan, so that those struggling with illness can focus on their fight to get better, spend time with their families, and live out their lives with dignity.

Emily’s legacy lives on through every life she’s touched, including mine. Emily’s legacy will continue to live on in each of us and through her beautiful family. And I know she will continue to bless us with her profound light that will guide us and give us strength through the good times and the bad. Knowing Emily was a blessing, and I thank her for her friendship.