“Stop talking; start doing.”
This is what Gabriella Miller, a passionate and dedicated childhood cancer awareness advocate, asked of our nation’s leaders.
Gabriella was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor when she was 9 years old. After 11 months, Gabriella Miller lost her battle with brain cancer in October 2013, but her words and legacy live on.
In a series of interviews before she died, Gabriella talked about her wish and hope for the future. “My wish is that there were a flu shot for cancer just like there is one for chicken pox,” said Gabriella Miller. “I honestly don’t care how painful it was, but nothing is more painful than watching another child die from cancer.”
Last month, the House voted to pass the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act to honor Gabriella’s request to take action, and support programs dedicated to finding cures for brave and beautiful kids like her. As the Senate sets its priorities for 2014, this bill should be at the top of its list, as there are few items that deserve more consideration than children’s health initiatives.
The Kids First Research Act directs an additional $126 million to fund a new pediatric research initiative at the National Institutes of Health and pays for this by eliminating the taxpayer subsidy for political party conventions. These dollars will fund innovative medical research, clinical trials and technological advancements aimed at helping kids fight their battles against childhood diseases.
Children in Kansas and across the country will benefit from medical breakthroughs that result in better treatments to help children who are suffering from diseases and disorders like cancer, autism, juvenile diabetes and Down Syndrome.
The Kansas University Medical Center is already making great strides in the fight against pediatric illnesses and stands to benefit from this legislation. This funding could help the KUMC Center for Child Health and Development further pursue efforts to treat and research disorders such as autism and Fragile X syndrome.
Many Kansans are affected by the serious toll illness can take on children and the families who restructure their lives to care for them. These kids are robbed of their childhood and are forced to grow up too quickly. All these kids want is to go to school and make friends, but they also have to go through harsh treatments that make them weak, tired and even make their hair fall out.
There is more that can be done to help the kids fighting childhood disease and disorders, and their families, who would give anything to alleviate the pain their little ones are forced to endure.
“It’s not fair that us kids get so little from the world,” said Gabriella Miller. “Just because we’re smaller, just because we don’t know as much, doesn’t mean we’re not important.”
Given our nation’s current economic situation and budget constraints, it is imperative Congress take a serious look at where our federal dollars are going. Not only is subsidizing political party conventions not a good use of taxpayer dollars, but by directing this money to improve children’s health research we are investing in the future of our great country – children in Kansas and across America.
Supporting the health and well-being of our kids should be a national priority, and I urge the Senate to take up this bill as soon as possible.