Childhood Cancer Roundtable Sets the Stage for Action

by Kevin Mathis, Sr. Legislative Counsel, St. Baldrick’s Foundation
December 15, 2014

On December 9, leaders from a host of childhood cancer organizations gathered in Washington, D.C. The assembled leaders of the childhood cancer community met to conduct the essential work necessary to advance our cause of creating better treatments and cures for childhood cancer.

St. Baldrick's Foundation childhood cancer advocacy

St. Baldrick’s Foundation joined with multiple other groups to set goals for the coming year during a childhood cancer roundtable in Washington, D.C. last week.

Over the past several years, we have repeatedly heard from our champions on Capitol Hill and in the administration that if we hope to make real progress in advancing our agenda, it is absolutely essential that our community is united and speaks with a single voice. While we recognize that the myriad groups in our community have many different goals, we know that there are some goals where we can be unified, and where we can prioritize our combined efforts to make a real difference.

In that spirit, it was extremely uplifting to see more than 40 leaders, many representing even larger coalitions of children’s cancer groups, have a serious, engaged, strategic conversation over several hours that set out our combined strategic goals.

After a long day of conversations, sometimes spirited, but always cordial and heartfelt, we agreed on a short list of top priorities that include:

  • Fighting for increased federal funding for childhood cancer research
  • Working with the government and the private sector to significantly advance the development and availability of necessary drugs and therapies
  • Developing a robust palliative care agenda that focuses on the quality of life issues of those fighting childhood cancer – and their families.

As a show of our commitment to keep working together, all of the assembled groups agreed to break into a series of smaller work groups, get together in the coming two months to hammer out a specific agenda in each of these areas, and report back to the whole group.

Then we can begin setting out strategy and timelines for advocacy that will bring the members and leadership of all the childhood cancer groups together to take our case to Congress and the administration, and to use our combined power to move the legislative agenda in a way that gets us the funding and resources we need.

St. Baldrick's Foundation Jadyn Childhood Cancer

We still have a long way to go. With so many groups, and with so many really good ideas, it won’t be easy to refine a unified agenda down to a few actionable items. But we know through experience that if we are to make real progress, we need an obtainable and specific goal, a group of strong champions on Capitol Hill, and a united community all pushing for the same outcome.

Our meeting in December was another critical step to making this happen. We are eager to help move this process along so that 2015 can be a year of great progress for childhood cancer.

St. Baldrick’s is thrilled, as part of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, in hosting this roundtable of childhood cancer leaders. We are pleased to be working hand in hand with the Coalition Against Childhood Cancer (CAC2) and a host of really great childhood cancer organizations and leaders to help bring our whole community together to present a powerful, united voice to our leaders in Washington, D.C.

Together, we will make a difference.

We need your help to make a difference for kids with cancer. Join our advocacy network and Speak Up For Kids’ Cancer!

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