March 2018: BIG victories on Capitol Hill!


A Victory for Our Kids: Childhood Cancer STAR Act Passes the Senate!

There was huge news on Capitol Hill last week when the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever introduced!

We thank our champions in the Senate for leading the way toward this huge milestone for our community, especially the original sponsors of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act (S.292), Senators Jack Reed (RI), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Johnny Isakson (GA).

We also thank each and every one of you who've reached out to your Members of Congress over the past few months - and years. Every email, tweet, phone call and meeting from the tireless advocates in our community played a part in this milestone victory for our kids. This has been a true collaborative effort with many organizations working together to get us here. We give special recognition to the coalitions of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer and the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer for their leadership.

Now, we turn our full attention to the U.S. House, where 362 members are already cosponsors -- over 80 percent! Our task now is to get the bill to committee and onto the House floor for a vote, so we can get it signed into law as quickly as possible. Please join us in this effort by writing to your Representative to ask for their support in getting this life-saving bill across the finish line. 

This bipartisan legislation is the result of many years of hard work from our Congressional champions, our community at large, and this organization. Its proposals are grounded in solid data, smart analysis, and a robust roundtable process that achieved community consensus on top policy priorities.

Thank you for helping us get this bill signed into law. 

NIH Receives $3 Billion Increase in Bipartisan Spending Bill

The National Institutes of Health received a $3 billion funding increase as part of a $1.3 trillion appropriations deal passed by Congress last week. This $37 billion budget for NIH represents an 8.8% increase, the biggest percentage increase seen by the NIH in the past 15 years. 

This boost to medical research funding comes at a critical time, as advances in precision medicine hold the key to more children surviving and thriving after a cancer diagnosis than ever before. The All of Us precision medicine biobank - which includes a pediatric component - received a $60 million increase, to $290 million.

The 2,200 page omnibus spending bill also increases the Food and Drug Administration's budget to $5.1 billion (a $483 million increase) and includes $996 million in 21st Century Cures funding.

Read more: 

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Deadline Approaching to Apply for CCCA College Scholars Program

CCCA is pleased to offer an opportunity for two childhood cancer survivors to gain valuable cancer advocacy experience. Award recipients will receive a scholarship of $2,000 via our College Scholars Program beginning in fall 2018.

Applicants must be pediatric cancer survivors pursuing a Bachelor's degree or higher willing to commit to a childhood cancer advocacy project of their choosing. Project examples include a summer internship in our DC office or presentation at a health fair or Children's Cause event. 

The application deadline is April 15, 2018. Scholarship recipients will be notified by May 15. Please find full details and access to the application here.

Congress on Spring Recess through April 10th

Members of Congress headed home for a scheduled two-week district work period through the first full week of April. If you're interested in meeting with your Congressional representatives about childhood cancer issues - or anything else - these district work periods are ideal times to find your Senators and Representative somewhere near you!

If you'd like to meet with your Member of Congress while they're home next week to share your childhood cancer story, here's a good place to start: CCCA's Guide to Congressional District Office Visits. You may also want to check Town Hall Project to see if there is a town hall taking place near you (there are many being scheduled for April 7th).

If you do interact with a Member of Congress about a childhood cancer issue, please take a moment to share your experience with us via this Meeting Report form. This information will remain confidential within Children's Cause staff and serves to help us improve our advocacy and refine our own work with these offices. Thank you for taking the time to share your story and our shared cause with lawmakers who have the power to create meaningful change for our kids.


Upcoming DC Action Days: Alliance in April & OVAC in May

Children's Cause belongs to two coalitions holding lobby days on Capitol Hill this spring! Please consider whether you might be able to join us for one of them:

Alliance for Childhood Cancer Action Days, April 23 & 24 -- This annual two-day event brings parents, children, healthcare professionals and others together for new advocate training, issues training, and pre-arranged Capitol Hill visits with Congressional Representatives and their staff. We encourage families, patients and advocates to participate and join Children's Cause in this community event. Find out the schedule of events, hotel information, registration details and reports from previous Action Days on our website.

One Voice Against Cancer, May 14 & 15 -- OVAC brings together a wide range of cancer organizations (adult & pediatric) and will be focusing its lobby day efforts around federal funding for research and prevention. If you're interested in being a voice for childhood cancer at this year's event, click here to learn more and register. Take note that the early bird registration rate ends on April 1st! OVAC may still have scholarships available -- please reply to this email with your interest.

Quick Links | Recommended Reading

  • Genome Analysis Yields New Clues about Childhood Cancer: Two teams of researchers studying the genomes of more than 1,700 tumours, representing more than 20 different kinds of childhood cancer, are identifying new mutations driving tumor growth. These findings could lead to genetic tests that enable a child's treatment to be better tailored -- and more effective. This piece quotes our founder Susan Weiner, PhD: “We are playing catch-up with drugs in development in adults." (Nature, 2.28.18)
  • Maryland Adopts Robot Tech for Kids Unable to Attend School: Maryland is trailblazing a path for students facing extended medical challenges like cancer to remain connected to their classrooms using state-of-the-art robot technology. Maryland will provide funding for all 24 of its school systems to receive up to four devices each. (WTOP, 3.7.18)

Join us for Jazz in June! Tickets are now on sale.

Join us in Washington, DC on June 18th for a reception featuring jazz music from the Eric Byrd Trio! Our Jazz in June event will bring together new and seasoned childhood cancer advocates from 6:30 - 9:00pm at the Hamilton Loft near Metro Center. Tickets are now available, including complimentary admission for childhood cancer survivors.

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Jessica Kean