This is Michael. Over the next two days, families of children currently fighting cancer, and moms and dads of kids unjustly lost to cancer, will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, meeting with the staffs of United States senators and house representatives in an effort to increase awareness for the lack of funding for research necessary to find better treatments, more specific treatments and cures for childhood cancers. Melissa and I attended this event last year, sponsored by the Alliance for Childhood cancer, and met with our representatives from Florida and Senator Nelson's staff.
Our prayers and support go with all of those that will make this effort over the next two days, and we are asking for yours as well. Our kids are dying every day from the 12 different forms of cancer found only in children, and any effort to stop this madness is worthwhile.
I have often thought of what could be the best way to present the facts of childhood cancer to a politician, to a potential charitable donor, to a teacher or to a group we have been asked to speak to. Last June, when Melissa and I were going back and forth across the grounds of the Capitol to various congressional offices, I kept trying to think of what could be the most powerful, short statement that I could make to possibly make an impact to gain a vote for increased funding to the NIH (National Institute of Health) for cancer research and specifically, to increase the amount of cancer research for kids (less than 4% of the total research budget). We told them in every meeting that cancer was the number ONE killer of our kids by disease in America, UK and Western Europe, and many other developed nations... and thought that with that fact, what else needed to be said? Wouldn't Congress certainly address the NUMBER ONE killer of our children in America???? For some reason, it didn't seem to resonate when we made the point in each office; it seemed as though we needed something more impactful (almost incredible to have to say that, but that is what it felt like at the time).
Toward the afternoon, it finally hit us; of the 17 people in our group meeting with each congressional staff, 13 had ALREADY lost their child to cancer. All day long, every week, week after week, lobbying groups go on to the Hill to meet with congressmen and women to try to influence them to vote for a project and almost all of them are somehow tied to someone's economic benefit. But here we were as a group, just asking to stop our kids from dying--- and not one of us had a single penny to gain by any vote by any congressman--- and, 13 of the 17 in our Florida delegation had ALREADY lost their child!
Consider writing your congressman or woman and asking them to support increased funding to the National Institute of Health (NIH) specifically to increase funding for pediatric cancer research. If you don't know how to write it or what to say, contact Melissa me and we will send you a template of a letter we use to inform and make aware our elected officials and to ask them to consider legislation affecting children with cancer.
Thanks for your consideration and thanks on behalf of all the kids suffering from the harsh treatments because they are forced to use adult forms of chemotherapy, outdated drugs and therapies approved for adults because there are none known or available for children.
St. Jude, come to the assistance of children with cancer.