Things Are Changing

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When we all work together for change, we make progress.  I’ve learned that over and over the last few years as I raised my voice against the travesty that is the state of childhood cancer funding and research.  I’ve been adding my voice to the cry for change, joining in other childhood cancer survivors, parents, siblings, extended family, friends, and strangers too.  We were seriously struggling to be heard, after our efforts have been shot down time and time again.  And suddenly, one small voice said with fierce determination, “Stop talking, start doing!”

That voice belong to Gabriella Miller, a 10 year old fighting a battle with an inoperable, incurable brain tumor.  I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her in person, but I did watch her videos…  This little girl with unstoppable courage and an infectious giggle took more than my attention – she stole my heart from the instant I laid eyes on the her little face.  Behind the computer screen, Gabriella was larger than life.  I’m sure that if I’d had the chance to meet her my opinion of her wouldn’t have changed,  It was just who she was, and who she will always be.

Earlier today, her mom, her dad, and her brother were in attendance in the Oval Office when President Obama signed a federal pediatric medical research bill named after Gabriella.  “Sweet G,” as she is affectionally known, fought her cancer for eleven months, and in the weeks before she died on October 26, 2013, she made several passionate pleas to lawmakers to make childhood cancer a national priority, or at least give it the attention it so desperately needs.  If you know anything about childhood cancer, know this:  it is the number one cause of death by disease in children, and as it is, it only receives 4% of national funding.  It is not just one disease either, so people need to stop looking at it like it is.  There are at least 12 different types, and many, many, many, many subtypes.

STOP TALKING, START DOING.

Gabriella said it like it was:  “Talk is bull****.  We need action.”  How right she was, and still is.  That she, a child, could see that when grown men and women couldn’t, is remarkable.  But then, Gabriella is a remarkable little girl.  I say that in the present tense because it is true.  Though she is gone in the physical sense, she is still very much present in the hearts of those who knew and loved her, whether or not it was personally or from afar.

I am so excited to see what the future holds.  Although this is big, it is only the beginning.  The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is a bill that helps bring childhood diseases into the spotlight and getting the attention they need.  It’s not only childhood cancer that benefits, but also ALL childhood diseases, like autism, and muscular dystrophy.  I’ve said it before – children are not miniature adults, and so they cannot be treated with adult drugs without expecting side effects.  As it is, 98% of childhood cancer survivors have long term side effects.  Their life expectancy… mine included… is drastically shorter than those of their siblings.

We’re doing it, Sweet G…  We’re continuing this fight for you.  Things are changing, and we are not done yet!  So many children have lost and are losing their lives to childhood diseases, and it is utterly ridiculous that the most of the world turned a blind eye to their struggles.  It isn’t right.  It isn’t in the least bit fair.  It is a grave injustice because children are our future.  They are supposed to outlive their parents, not the other way around.

If you want to learn more about Gabriella, you can visit her foundation site @ Smashing Walnuts.

Please don’t forget to sign TheTruth365’s petition making childhood cancer a national priority!  http://www.thetruth365.org/petition/

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