These cuts could negatively impact the future for kids with cancer who are fighting today and those who will be fighting 10 years from now, unless we, as a community, come together and take serious action.
With a meager 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget directed to childhood cancer research, children with cancer are already the underdogs, and that was before the fiscal cliff loomed before us.
In an era of scarcity and widespread disagreement about the proper role of government in the lives of its citizens, one thing is clear:
Governments around the world, for reasons mainly economic, are reducing funding for childhood cancer research.
In the United States, four decades after the official start of the War on Cancer, the fight is far from over. In fact, for young people, new challenges arise all the time:
In March of this year, things could look different, drastically different for children with cancer.
It may not be noticed within a week, or two, or more, but eventually, the ghost in the room will be hard to ignore.
Congress is now facing the challenge that’s been haunting them: where and how to cut from the budget since the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “Super Committee”) did not reach an agreement as to how to cut $1.2 trillion from the 2011 budget.
What’s been proposed? Automatic across-the-board cuts that affect every federal program budget. A 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), and also the Food and Drug Administration – departments that, as a supporter for kids with cancer, should greatly concern you.
Amy Bucher with her daughter, Arden, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of 2.
From one parent to every volunteer:
We tell them to be brave, even when they are facing what we know will be painful procedures, horrific treatments.
We distract them with sticker charts, stuffed animals, promises of the trips of their dreams.
We try to take them out of their hospital beds via their imaginations, reading story upon story of faraway places and playing video games to expert levels.
We do our best to stay positive, shielding our children from a war that is not raging around, but inside of them.
Meanwhile, while kids are fighting cancer, we’re discovering that prioritization of funding for the number one disease killer of kids in our country is ranked very low by our own National Cancer Institute.
“The sequester is a real threat that endangers an entire generation of children with cancer. It would be disastrous for childhood cancer research.” – Peter Adamson, M.D., Chair, Children’s Oncology Group
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation calls on Congress to act now to prevent budget sequester cuts that threaten the more than 13,500 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States, the tens of thousands of infants, children, teens and young adults currently in treatment, and the 350,000 survivors of childhood cancers that live in our country.
What is the budget sequester?
At the end of 2012, Congress delayed the budget sequester (a series of automatic program cuts) until March 2013. The sequester is part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was a compromise to address raising the federal debt ceiling while reducing expenditures, failed efforts to trim $1.2 trillion from the 2011 budget resulted in required across-the-board cuts, or the budget sequester.