A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act’

“Children are the Fruit of all Humanity”

Curefest 2014 483“Every child belongs to mankind’s family

Children are the fruit of all humanity

Let them feel the love of all the human race

Touch them with the warmth, the strength of that embrace.”

      ~Chuck Mangione, Children of Sanchez

When I first met my husband, Melinda’s dad, he melted my heart by playing Children of Sanchez, by Chuck Mangione, on the piano. I loved this song from the first time he played it, and I have recently rediscovered it. It brings back to me all the familiar feelings from long ago– before I was married and before our three children were born. At the same time, this beautiful song has now taken on new meanings as life experiences have piled on over the years.

My love for children has always been strong, but having the experience of being engulfed into the world of childhood cancer has only made that love stronger and more powerful. My contact with children fighting cancer and families and caregivers over the past few years has impacted my life in ways I will forever be grateful for. I credit them with teaching me to look at and value the Ends of the Spectrum of Life. At one end is the ultra-meaningful and at the other is all-out-silliness, whose only meaning is pure joy. What lies in the middle is the mediocre of life and what lies at each end is what life is all about.

For those leaders in the childhood cancer community who take on the challenge of pushing forward for awareness, research and cures for our “fruit of humanity,” I thank you. If we don’t take care of our children, our “fruit,” we are nothing but empty and barren.

Every child really does belong to “mankind’s family.” For too long, our society and our government have turned away from viewing the gripping and horrid realities of childhood cancer. Cancer is the number one disease killing children in our country. Seven children die each day. Two new drugs have been developed specifically to treat childhood cancer in the past two decades. Two.

Children need progress. Time is not a luxury in the world of children fighting cancer.

With a grateful heart, I share this news of promising progress from Mark & Ellyn Miller of Smashing Walnuts Foundation about the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act:

https://www.facebook.com/smashingwalnuts
GREAT NEWS!!
THIS JUST IN…

Our Sweet GG did it! Thirteen and a half months after Gabriella died she moved our Congress to come together for our children battling disease. Congress “stopped talking and started doing”!

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act has made it into the government funding Bill that the House and the Senate will vote on THIS week!! The section of the Bill that includes the GMKFRA is 177 pages long. The link below includes a summary of each section of the legislation. Not only is the GMKFRA included in the legislation but it is prominently featured in the three page summary attached below!

Thanks to so many individuals and organizations, working together towards a common goal, we succeeded the first time out the gate! Thank you and congratulations! We did it! We have made a tremendous difference in the world of childhood disease research!”

#GabriellaMillerKidsFirstResearchAct #GabriellaMiller #SmashingWalnuts#TalkIsBullshit #ItsNotOk
appropriations.house.gov

$12.6 million!

Curefest 2014 180

Let’s encourage our elected leaders to continue to sharpen their focus on childhood cancer. Thank them for their votes this week to include GMKFRA in the FY 2015 Omnibus.

Thanks to Four Square Clobber Cancer for letter assistance…

http://4sqclobberscancer.com/2013/02/24/dear-congressman/

“Give me love and understanding, I will thrive

As my children grow my dreams come alive

Those who hear the cries of children, God will bless

I will always hear the Children of Sanchez.”

   ~Chuck Mangione

 Guest Blogger: Lee Marchiano

 

 

 

If Childhood Cancer was in Human Form…

Nurse Cyndi, the Blue Chemo Fairy

Nurse Cyndi, the Blue Chemo Fairy

The truths in my last post about what childhood cancer has in common with landing on the moon continue to circulate through my mind and heart. What speaks loudest to me is that we are ignoring the urgency of the need for cures for childhood cancer. There is so little awareness of childhood cancer that we accept “what is.” Many people assume that any child with cancer can go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and receive free treatment that will cure them for life.

Ugh.

There is no known cause for childhood cancer.

Getting a proper diagnosis for a child with cancer can be an all-out mission of searching.

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, 80% have advanced stages of the disease, compared to 20% in adults.

Treatment for childhood cancers (if there is one) are ancient.

“Research for children with cancer-especially for those with solid tumors like sarcomas and brain cancer—lags nearly two decades behind their adult counterparts.”

~Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D., Division Head, Division of Pediatrics, TheUniversity of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

NCI funding for childhood cancer research has been dwindling, with a 30% decrease over the past decade. Pediatric cancer research receives a tiny 4% of the total NCI budget. This is critical. Federal funding for pediatric cancer research is vital, due to the fact that pharmaceutical companies do not see returns on their investments like they do for developing drugs to treat adult cancers. Virtually all the funding for pediatric cancer research comes from the NCI. Cuts to this budget greatly harm the Children’s Oncology Group and block medical discoveries that will lead to saving the lives of our children.

“Accounting for inflation, NCI’s funding has decreased by more than $1.1 billion (24.7 percent) since FY 2003.”

(The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009)

Where I really want to go here is beyond the statistics. We are talking about children. We are talking about children who are fighting for their lives. We are talking about seven children dying from cancer each and every day in our country. We are talking about lack of research which means outdated treatments that cause a lifetime of suffering—if a child does indeed survive.

Imagine…

Imagine that childhood cancer was in human form, not disease form.

Would we carry on with our lives as if we had not a care in the world while an assassin showed up and killed 7 children each day in this country? Would we call in the FBI, the Navy Seals, and every single solitary team that could possibly snuff out this killer? Would we develop ways to protect our children from this evil monster? Would we wait a day, a week, a month, a year, to act? 

If childhood cancer was in human form, we would have already captured and killed it.

Just because childhood cancer is in disease form does not mean this is not urgent!

As I prepare to travel to Washington, D.C. next week for childhood cancer events, including Curefest, I keep thinking of Erin Griffin and Gabriella Miller. Both girls spoke at last year’s event. This year, they will not be able to attend in person. They will be viewing the event from heaven.

This IS urgent! THIS IS URGENT!

Sometimes I wish childhood cancer was in human form. I wish it could meet Mohammed Ali in his prime in the ring.

Pin The Bag of Chemo on the Mass

Pin The Bag of Chemo on the Mass

Guest Blogger: Lee Marchiano

Something you can do today to help end childhood cancer:

https://www.curebraincancer.org.au/page/98/petition

http://4sqclobberscancer.com/2013/02/24/dear-congressman/

 

“Talk is (Bleep); We Need Action” — The Truth 365

“Stop Talking and Start DOING!”
                                              ~Gabriella Miller
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Gabriella tells us to “Stop Talking and Start DOING!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaoqnILa0l4

untitled

Are you laughing and crying at the same time after watching and hearing ten year-old Gabriella express her opinions about our elected officials? One of the greatest things about being around kids is they tell you exactly how they feel. Is there anyone else who feels they need to hug her and give her high fives?

The signing of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act by President Obama is the result of a long, arduous, and fervent campaign spearheaded by two of the most passionate people Melinda and I have ever had the blessing of meeting, Mike Gillette and Dena Scarpelli-Sherwood. This progress for childhood cancer research can be traced back to their hearts to help children with cancer and to their willingness to dive into the unknown and “stop talking and start doing.” They produced The Truth 365 Childhood Cancer Documentary to raise awareness, raise funds for research, and to gather petition signatures, all with the goal of uniting the childhood cancer community to work together to end childhood cancer.

http://m.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2014/04/03/president-obama-signs-gabriella-miller-kids-first-research-act

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“Talk is (Bleep,) we need action.”
~Gabriella Miller
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“WOW…A 10 YEAR OLD WITH MORE BRAINS THAN ANYONE IN WASHINGTON!”

 The Truth 365 Childhood Cancer Documentary
The Truth 365 is a ground-breaking, grass-roots documentary film and social media campaign that gives a voice to children fighting cancer. The film features compelling and inspiring stories of children and their families fighting cancer as well as interviews with political leaders and several of the country’s most respected pediatric oncologists. With the help of thousands of volunteers and highly focused social media campaign, the film will inspire millions of people to show their support for children with cancer. Host: Melinda Marchiano
To learn more about The Truth 365, visit www.thetruth365.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/thetruth365film .
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“By combining the powerful medium of documentary with the viral nature of Social Media, we aim to shine a light on the state of childhood cancer research funding by uniting the childhood cancer community, members of Congress, the nation’s top pediatric oncologists and several influential celebrities. In this election-year we need for our politicians to hear the cries of these children and their parents, who are desperate for funding, less toxic treatments, and ultimately a cure.”
~Dena Scarpelli-Sherwood
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http://www.thetruth365.org/one-voice/
http://www.thetruth365.org/petition/
My hope is that Gabriella, Mike, and Dena will educate you, enlighten you, and inspire you to do more than talk about making a difference in the world of childhood cancer. Let’s play Follow-The-Leaders, or become leaders ourselves. There is no time to waste. We must begin Smashing Walnuts today.
Thank you Gabriella, Mike, and Dena. Thank you!
http://www.smashingwalnuts.org/

The Truth 365 Childhood Cancer Documentary

The Truth 365 Childhood Cancer Documentary

Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act Signed by President Obama

“If I go, if I lose my battle then I’m going to want other people to carry on this war.”

                                                                                   ~Gabriella Miller

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Today, something extraordinary happened in the world of childhood cancer. President Obama signed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act into law, with Gabriella’s family present. Gabriella was diagnosed with a brain tumor at nine years old, and became a fierce advocate for childhood cancer research before cancer stole her at ten years old. As you can see from her quote above, she now needs all of us to carry on the “war.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/obama-signs-cancer-research-bill-memory-girl-23182252

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/gabriella-miller-kids-first-research-act-to-be-signed-into-law-101786.html


“This Act may be cited as the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

Termination of taxpayer financing of political party conventions; use of funds for pediatric research initiative”

The full text:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2019/text

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“When you get cancer, you have to be all grown up and you don’t really get a childhood.”

                                                                                                                ~Gabriella Miller

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While I am feeling happy along with other childhood cancer advocates over what happened in Washington today, I cannot help but think of the Miller family. What did it feel like for them to be there for the signing today? How are they ever dealing with the grief over their loss of Gabriella? One of the things that strikes me most when I watch Gabriella’s videos is when she says, “If I die, I will be with my friends.” What an enormous burden these childhood cancer patients carry, not only fighting for their own lives, but emotionally fighting for their cancer-stricken friends as well.

If you have never “met” Gabriella, you absolutely must. Gabriella shows wisdom that comes only through suffering. The purity of her soul and her message will grab your insides and squeeze them until only love remains. Sweet Gabriella, may your mission continue. Your spirit lives. Your spirit will save the lives of many children in the future. To Gabriella’s family, thank you for raising a child with such tremendous insight, grace, and love. She has forever made an impact on my life. May she forever have an impact on our nation and our on our world.

http://www.thetruth365.org/2013/04/04/welcome-10-year-old-gabriella-miller-to-the-truth-365-documentary/

Gabriella Miller’s words: Sugar, Protein, and the need for Constant Awareness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a7NZxNMpcA

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“My biggest fear is that a little child is going to die.”

                                                                    ~Gabriella Miller

Happy Dance for the signing today of Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

Happy Dance for the signing today of Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

 

Guest Blogger: Lee Marchiano

Time to Take Action– 2014 Childhood Cancer Action Days

2014 Childhood Cancer Action Days

Registration opened today for the 2014 Childhood Cancer Action Days in Washington, DC. The Alliance for Childhood Cancer will be the host of this two-day event that will encompass advocacy training and Capitol Hill meetings with Congressional Representatives. The training will take place at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Childhood Cancer Action Days not only educate people who want to learn more about how they can institute change, but they provide everyone in the childhood cancer community an opportunity to share their concerns about current issues before Congress.

Schedule

Monday, June 23, 10:00 am- 6:30 pm / Training and issues presentation, by Soapbox

Tuesday, June 24, 8:00 am- 5:00 pm / Kick-off and Hill visits

The Alliance for Childhood Cancer is a uniting force in the childhood cancer community. The following is a list of members in their organization from their website.

American Academy of Pediatrics , American Cancer Society , American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network , American Childhood Cancer Organization , American Society of Clinical Oncology , American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology , Association of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Nurses , Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers , B+ Foundation , Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation , Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy , Children’s Oncology Group , CureSearch for Children’s Cancer , Leukemia & Lymphoma Society , National Children’s Cancer Society , Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation , Sarcoma Foundation of America , Society of Pediatric Psychology , St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Melinda and I just registered. I encourage others who share our passion to make a change in the world of childhood cancer to do the same. You don’t need to be a member of any of these organizations to register; parents, survivors, and all advocates are welcome.

We need research. We need less toxic treatments. We need access to medicines. We need supplies of medicine that don’t run out. And the list goes on…

This is the registration link!

http://www.allianceforchildhoodcancer.org/events?eventId=855348&EventViewMode=EventDetails

H.R. 2607: Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Reauthorization Act

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2607

H.R. 2019: Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2019

We need to act and do much, much more to end the suffering of our children. Please join Melinda and many others who are devoting their lives to make sure there is change for the better.

Bear and Chemo Bag

Guest Blogger: Lee Marchiano

 

Childhood Cancer Advocacy Momentum — Connect Connect Connect

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My name is Lee, and I am Melinda’s mom. As a college sophomore, Melinda has responsibilities that make time for blogging difficult. Sleep is a rarity. The world of childhood cancer still goes on, which means this blog about childhood cancer needs to continue. Melinda has invited me to be her guest blogger until Pepperdine lets out for the summer.

Since the time of her treatment, six years ago now, we have worked together as a “team” to help children with cancer. Having a strong focus to help others was instrumental in Melinda’s physical and emotional recovery from cancer, and I have no doubt it has helped me as well. There is something indescribable about helping others when your very own self is falling apart. Isn’t it true we feel as humans that we need to have our act together before we can help anyone else; we need to have all of our “ducks in a row” before we have “extra” to output for others. The plain truth is, we are often more compassionate, more understanding, and more helpful when we are broken, mangled, or bent. Any parent whose child has fought childhood cancer falls into this broken, mangled, or bent category. I am no different. My heart will never recover from the terror of Melinda’s suffering. But… I will rejoice every moment of every day for the rest of my life that she has come through the suffering. I intend to take this mangled heart of mine and form its love into a huge, fierce fire– a fire that will light the world of childhood cancer.

The childhood cancer community is a community no one chooses or dreams of joining. We are “drafted.” Not long after I was drafted, I realized I needed to “Enlist.” My love for children is so deep, so great, so overflowing, that I have no choice but to help these children in every way I can. I will admit there are kid parts of me that have never grown up. I have been known– on many occasions– to randomly and suddenly break into a skip. This is just one thing I love about kids; they teach us joy. They teach us about what we have discarded and left behind in our adult lives. When that adult reserve kicks in and tells me not to skip next time, I plan on inviting it to join me!

I want to express my thanks to moms and dads in the childhood cancer community for sharing your daily lives through social media. I feel I know so many of you, just from following. You have given me a better understanding of the problems, pressures, and battles you face each moment of each day. I want you to know how much I care. I want you to know how hard I will work for change. I want you to know you are not alone.

Finally, I am excited about the momentum that is building. I am honored to know many of you who work your tails off so that there can be newly funded research for less toxic treatments. I am amazed by the courage of so many of you who have lost your children to cancer that now run foundations to help the kids. After five years of my personal advocacy, it’s clear to me that the tides are beginning to turn. Four years ago, a dear lady named Christine began a campaign intended to raise awareness of childhood cancer. She was inspired by her friend, Deliece Hofen and her son, Braden, who is currently undergoing a bone marrow transplant. The campaign aimed at getting Oprah’s attention for a segment on her show and was called, “Oprah, Please Do A Show On Childhood Cancer.” Within no time, the childhood cancer community came together with a loud voice. Unfortunately, Oprah did not answer our pleas to help raise awareness. She had never done a show about childhood cancer and never did one before the show went off the air.

Recently, the outcome of our cohesiveness did bring about something extraordinary. “Under intense pressure” from social media and grassroots, Josh Hardy was able to get the medicine he needed, but had been denied. Another beacon of hope for progress is the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. Because we are connected and engaged with each other in our community, we are beginning to achieve some success. This means we have opportunities to save kid’s lives! This means we can build even more momentum for avenues of change.

Josh Hardy

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3329179339001/7-year-old-cancer-patient-receives-new-drug/#sp=show-clips

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/11/congress-passes-bill-to-support-childhood-cancer-research/

Yes, let’s connect, connect, connect so we can achieve as much as we possibly can. Childhood cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in our country. Seven children die from cancer every day here in the United States and over 40,000 children are currently in treatment. Many of these children fight for years. Many of these children suffer even more from the effects of their treatment than they do from cancer.

To all my fellow onc-parents, I love you and your children.

“Charge!!!!”

Please leave your contact on this page so we can all connect.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-A-Childs-Intimate-Journey-Through-Cancer-and-Recovery/149423578414076?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1ballerina

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