September – Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – saw a rolling series of events in Washington, D.C. that demonstrated the vitality and growing influence of the childhood cancer community.
As advocates pressed Congress on several pieces of legislation that would improve the environment for kids with cancer – most notably the STAR Act - the White House encouraged their efforts with a proclamation and briefing on research projects by the National Cancer Institute and the President’s Moonshot Initiative. The latter included the release of a report of a Blue Ribbon Panel with recommendations that specifically called to “intensify research on the major drivers of childhood cancers.”
The world of childhood cancer was also illustrated for policymakers with the release of “Translating Discovery into Cures for Children with Cancer: Childhood Cancer Research Landscape Report” by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer and the American Cancer Society, with guidance from Children’s Cause. The report offers the latest information on trends, treatments, clinical trials, research funding and policy.
But no Awareness Month would be complete without our expressions of solidarity and commitment. The annual CureFest on September 18 by dozens of childhood cancer advocacy organizations and their supporters energized the National Mall to bring attention and purpose to the thousands of children lost to cancer and the struggles of those moving beyond it.
At the other end of the Mall, the community was also offered the continuing support of Hyundai Hope on Wheels campaign. The car company, which devotes significant funding to pediatric cancer research, hosted a scientific brainstorming conference and a gala for advocates including Children's Cause President and Founder Susan Weiner.
The month also featured the seventh annual Childhood Cancer Summit, hosted by the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, chaired by Reps. Mike McCaul (TX) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) where advocates heard from the NCI Director Doug Lowy about new developments in research, from Greg Simon, head of the President’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative about commitments to rapid improvements in treatment and – importantly – from patients and survivors on their trials, challenges and victories.
This month demonstrated that every September the voice of the childhood cancer community gets louder, more committed and more determined; to find cures and to improve the lives of patients, their families and survivors. More advocates will hasten the day when no child will have to face a diagnosis of cancer. You can help bring that day. Join the Kids Action Network and make your voice heard with policymakers for better treatments, access to care and support for survivors.