More than 250 supporters of childhood cancer joined forces with the Alliance for Childhood Cancer on June 24 for Action Days. Advocates asked Congress to continue to support initiatives that can improve research, treatment, and outcomes for children with cancer. The third annual Childhood Cancer Action Day event is an effort to advance important legislation that will benefit the nearly 15,700 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year and more than 379,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the U.S.
“Families from 34 states, each of whom is armed with deeply personal experiences that inspired them to travel to Washington, are in town to ensure that Congress understands the importance of supporting children with cancer and their families,” said Danielle Leach, MPA, co-chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.
Advocates ranging in age from 3-73 met with their members of Congress and ask for their support for funding for childhood cancer research and passage of the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act.
The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2607/ S. 1251) was introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE). This legislation would expand the research of childhood cancers, improve efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences and identify opportunities to expand the development and research of therapeutics necessary to treat children with cancer.
Advocates will also ask for increased funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its investments in childhood cancer research, which is critical to identifying new treatments and completing ongoing clinical trials. Low funding levels have resulted in cuts to the NCI’s Children’s Oncology Group – which administers pediatric cancer clinical trials across the country. An estimated 60 percent of children with cancer are enrolled in federally funded clinical trials, which often hold the best possible hope for successful treatment, meaning that insufficient funding at the NCI is especially harmful to the pediatric cancer community.
“We’re excited not only about the day, but about the potential these legislative actions have to make a difference in the lives of the children who undergo cancer treatment each year,” says Amy Billett, MD, co-chair of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer. “We know that through these visits and the grassroots efforts of those who were unable to travel to join us in person, we can demonstrate to Congress the power they have to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer, now and into the future.”
Advocates left Capitol Hill with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that their Senators and Representatives heard how important continued support of children’s cancer research is.
To learn how you can become an advocate, visit our Be a Digital Advocate section.