Thursday, February 28, 2013

Calling All FROGs!

On the eve of the federal budget sequester, kids fighting cancer need your help! From our friends at St. Baldrick's Speak Up for Kids' Cancer advocacy wing:

What’s been proposed? Automatic across-the-board cuts that affect every federal program budget. An 8.2% cut has been proposed for federal research agencies, which include the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in turn, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as well as the Food and Drug Administration.

How does this impact kids with cancer? With only 4% of the current NIH/NCI budget dedicated to childhood cancer research, children with cancer enter this debate on an uneven playing field. This small amount already cripples the childhood cancer research community to the point of significant dependence on the private sector, but the budget sequester has the potential to impact an entire generation of childhood cancer patients. 

If the sequester cuts indicated for NIH/NCI occur, it will set off a disastrous domino effect for the Children’s Oncology Group – the innovative research engine that unites more than 8,000 pediatric oncology physician researchers at more than 200 children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers around the world.
  • Research scheduled for 2013 would be halted, meaning that projects slated for 2014, 2015 and beyond would be cut.
  • Staff cuts would cause the intricate workings of the COG to freeze.
  • If COG operations were to halt, it would take years to restore the COG to the current pace of operations.
  • Children with cancer would be unable to access clinical trials, medical discoveries that improve the lives of children will be stifled, and promising research on childhood cancer cures will grind to a halt.
Sequester cuts would also seriously impede the FDA’s drug approval process for patients of all ages.
  • Children with cancer are especially vulnerable, as they receive oncology drugs originally developed for adult patients. The toxicity of these drugs causes severe side effects and extreme long-term effects in these young patients.
  • With only two drugs approved by the FDA specifically for children with cancer in the last 20 years, new, highly-targeted therapies are desperately needed to treat pediatric cancers.
And here are some beautiful words on the subject from my Momma friend from Michigan, Monica, and her amazing son, Luke, a 2013 St. Baldrick's Ambassador. The bottom line is, as always, kids can't fight this battle alone, so by taking just a moment of your time, you can raise your voice for them and raise awareness of the critical need for solid (and, ideally, INCREASED) funding for childhood cancer research. Click here to contact your senators and representatives in one easy step. Thanks, y'all!

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