Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, in record speed, the Gabriella Miller Kid’s First Act was passed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent vote on March 11, 2014. The President signed the bill into law on April 4, 2014. The bill was funded on 12/13/2014.
Literally, within hours of passing the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act in the US House of Representatives, I began to hear voices saying the bill was doomed. Some are saying it will never pass the Senate and if it does it will never get appropriated. Many of these voices are the same ones who have been saying, for the last several months, it will never pass the House. How? Just minutes after passage in the House, how can we be so sure of defeat in the Senate? Is our government so divided that we can fully determine passage of a bill like this so far in advance?
Now is the time, not tomorrow, not next week, but NOW is the time that the childhood cancer community needs to stand together as ONE. Put away your R‘s and D‘s and put on a K (Kids) label and help move the The Grabriella Miller Kids First Research Act through the Senate.
Childhood cancer is competing with adult cancer. Don’t believe it? Look at the National Cancer Institute. They devote 96% of it’s research to adults. No graph, no spreadsheet will ever justify this. We need to lobby against this type of thinking. We need to push for childhood cancer specific bills and push for a bigger piece of the pie, but we should also not isolate ourselves from other groups seeking research in pediatrics. Collectively, we all should be demanding more for pediatrics in general. We are not alone, nor are we competing against others in pediatrics, we are actually competing with adults who can vote. Can you imagine what would happen if we can raise the cause of all pediatrics? We need to partner with our friends in the RARE pediatric disease community, autism, and other children’s disease groups across this land. We could be a force in determining our future.
This time around it may be even easier. We only have to work on 100 members, not 435 as it was in the House. Many of the 100 will be running for re-election in 2014 and may have a more willing ear to listen to us. We owe it to our kids with cancer and to other kids suffering from other pediatric diseases to get this bill passed.
Author: Joe Baber, Four Square Team Captain
Here’s the latest information on the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act > CLICK HERE