One of the challenges faced in the battle against childhood cancer is there are many types of childhood cancer and many different organizations and individuals supporting these children and their families in their fight. Working together, we can harness our collective strength to bring voice to our concerns. This is especially important in advocacy. Children and adolescents with cancer rely heavily on investment by the federal government for improved research and care. Because of the dominant impact Washington policymakers have on the survival of children with cancer across the country, working collectively on advocacy issues is crucial.
Meaningful legislation that represents a consensus of community priorities is difficult to craft and even more challenging to pass through Congress. Regardless, our community has celebrated a number of successes in the last few years, including the passage of the Childhood Cancer STAR Act, the RACE for Children Act, the Creating Hope Act, and the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act.
Advocacy work doesn’t end once legislation has passed. Advocating for funds–either through the annual budget process that supports clinical trials and basic research or to implement certain pieces of legislation–requires an annual effort. For instance, in the case of the STAR Act, our community has continued to work with Congress to ensure that the programs established by the legislation in 2018 receive full funding every year ($30 million through FY2023). The same is true for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative that is a ten-year, $500 million commitment to childhood cancer that must be included as appropriations in each budget cycle.
CAC2 member organizations with an advocacy interest or focus are encouraged to participate in the work of the CAC2 Advocacy and Awareness Interest Group. Contact the Advocacy Group Liaison if you would like more information on how to be involved with CAC2 advocacy initiatives.