The Gabriella Miller Kids First Act 2.0

BuildingOnSuccess_edited-3Because of the successes of the Kids First Program and Data Resource Center, Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10),  along with Tom Cole, R-OK, Gus Bilirakis, R-FL, and Debbie Dingell, D-MI, and 25 other bipartisan cosponsors as well as Senators Tim Kaine, D-VA, and Jerry Moran, R-KS, with 9 other bipartisan Senators recently re-introduced the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 which passed in the House of Representatives on July 27, 2022. The bill fell short by one vote of unaimous consent late in the 2022 Senate session.

U.S. Representative Jennifer Wexton, D-VA, re-introduced the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 on May 17, 2023, along with Representatives Tom Cole, R-OK, Gus Bilirakis, R-FL, and Debbie Dingell, D-MI, as well as Senators Tim Kaine, D-VA, and Jerry Moran, R-KS, according to a press release.

The legislation would reauthorize and increase funding for the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program (Kids First), which has supported lifesaving research of treatments for childhood cancer.

The bill is named in honor of Gabriella Miller, a Leesburg resident who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and passed away in 2013 at age 10.

Gabriella’s advocacy for lawmakers to “stop talking, start doing,” led to the creation of the Ten-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund which authorized $12.6 million in annual funds for childhood disease research. The fund expires at the end of this Fiscal Year.

“It is unacceptable that less than 8% of the federal cancer research funding goes towards childhood cancer while tens of thousands of children are diagnosed each year in the U.S. – and cancer is taking more children’s lives than any other disease right now,” said Wexton in a statement. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to build on the remarkable work of the Kids First research programs and boost funding for treatments and cures that can save kids’ lives. It’s been an honor to work with Ellyn Miller, a constituent and Gabriella’s mother, as well as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver real change so no family has to go through what the Millers have faced.”

“My daughter Gabriella called upon our elected officials to ‘stop talking and start doing’ two weeks before she died of brain cancer at the age of 10,” said Ellyn Miller, Founder and President of the Smashing Walnuts Foundation, in a statement. “Today, she would be 20; living a full and wonderful life. I want to say to Gabriella, we have been doing! We have been making progress! But many more families have suffered and MORE needs to be done! So I am grateful to Congresswoman Wexton and Members across the aisle who are DOING something wonderful for children who suffer from cancer and other debilitating diseases. Building off the great success of the ‘Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act’, Rep. Wexton’s bipartisan legislation brings additional funding to continue the work done to date by NIH for much-needed research for childhood cancers and diseases. My heartfelt thanks to all the Members of Congress who have joined together to support the search for better treatments and cures for our children.”

“Gabriella Miller was a Virginian and a passionate activist, and it’s my mission to honor her by working to make sure pediatric disease research is a priority in Congress,” said Kaine in a statement. “I’m proud to join together with colleagues from both sides of the aisle in introducing this legislation, which would provide a crucial source of funding for the pediatric cancer and disease research that can support treatments and save lives in the years to come.”

Over the next weeks and months Smashing Walnuts and other organizations in the childhood cancer community will be gathering supporters from all of the United States to lobby for their legislators to cosponsor and help pass the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.   If you have never signed up as a supporter, please CLICK HERE: