Archive for Thursday, June 10, 2004

Eudorans taking cancer effort to Capitol Hill

June 10, 2004

Hot on the heels of the Relay for Life, several Eudorans are barely taking time to recuperate before dashing off to Washington, D.C., to further pursue cancer research.
Tri-yearly trips to the capital on behalf of the National Childhood Cancer Foundation and its umbrella group, CureSearch, include the upcoming Gold Ribbon Days, June 15 through 17.
Although usually in conjunction with Gold Ribbon Month in September -- gold ribbons represent the struggle against childhood cancer -- this year's event will allow families with school-age children to participate, said Judi O'Grady, whose daughter Brooke died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001.
"A lot of the kids who come are survivors, (and they) still have a lot of medical problems," Judi O'Grady said.
She will be joined in D.C. by Brooke's other family members, too.
Part of Gold Ribbon Days is allowing families to put a personal face to the disease, and O'Grady said Brooke's nieces would be sharing her story.
The trip would mostly be a lobbying effort, said O'Grady, who meets with legislators from all districts in Kansas.
"We've had really, really good reception," she said. "They're very receptive to this."
One of the issues before lawmakers is the Compassionate Care for Children Act, which provides grants to train healthcare workers and research grants. The act also aims to change the health care system to meet the special needs of children with cancer.
Under Medicare, O'Grady said a family had to choose between curative and hospice care for their child. Moreover, she said a child had to be diagnosed with six months to live in order to receive hospice care.
CureSearch is also working to get $17 million in appropriations from several governmental departments, including the Department of Defense.
"People look at you like you're an idiot, but they are the largest health research organization in the world," O'Grady said.
CureSearch is also looking for $20 million in authorizations to finance research, a national childhood cancer registry, educational programs, and public awareness of early detection and treatment.
"We are working diligently to get this accomplished," O'Grady said.
For more information about Gold Ribbon Days, visit www.childhoodcancerawareness.org.

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