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San Jose Resident Travels to D.C. to Urge Congress to Ensure Childhood Cancer Research Remains a National Priority

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Contributed by : Priscilla Cabral
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San Jose, Calif. - February 19, 2024 - San Jose resident and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteer Sarva Channarajurs traveled to Washington, D.C., on February 13 to share the story of her son Mithil Prasad, who died from an aggressive and difficult to treat tumor just days short of his 13th birthday. Channarajurs urged lawmakers, including Representative Jimmy Panetta, to fund childhood cancer programs and ensure childhood cancer research remains a national priority.

"We were devastated when doctors told us Mithil had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and that his prognosis was 8 to 10 months. Although we lost our boy in 2016, his compassionate spirit lives on in our family's advocacy work towards a future in which every child can achieve optimal health and their full potential," she said.

Channarajurs joined 200 other cancer patients, survivors and family members from 32 states and the District of Columbia in the nation's capital for the 14th Annual Alliance for Childhood Cancer Action Days, a two-day event organized by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, of which ACS CAN is a member.

Participants asked lawmakers to fully fund the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act to improve the quality of life of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families. They also asked lawmakers to cosponsor the Accelerating Kids' Access to Care Act, which reduces regulatory burdens to allow children with complex medical needs greater access to out-of-state providers who can best meet their needs.

"Thanks to significant advancements in treatment, 85% of children with different types of cancer now survive five years or more. However, there are childhood cancers that have a very poor prognosis, like DIPG and other pediatric brain tumors, highlighting the need for even more funding for research," said Channarajurs. "My family created the Mithil Prasad Foundation to help fund research projects dedicated to finding the next big breakthrough that will allow DIPG patients to live longer and better. Members of Congress need to do their part to help advance discoveries in the fight against childhood cancer by making strong investments in the National Institutes for Health and the National Cancer Institute," she added.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. About 9,620 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2024. An estimated 1,040 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer in 2024.

ACS CAN advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. For more information on how ACS CAN advocates for cancer patients, survivors, and their families on the local, state, and federal levels, visit FightCancer.org/CA.


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