The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

“Less talking, more doing - we need action.”  Those were the words of 10 -year-old Gabriella Miller, a tireless advocate for pediatric cancer research who lost her own battle with brain cancer in October of this year.  This week, the House will vote on the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (H.R. 2019), legislation sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) that eliminates taxpayer funding for presidential campaigns and conventions, and redirects that funding to pediatric medical research.

H.R. 2019 would help advance research and treatment efforts in several pediatric areas.  “Recent scientific research breakthroughs linking Fragile X Syndrome and autism have given hope to individuals and their families,” Rep. Harper explains. “In order for clinical trials – and other advancements – to meet their full potential, adequate federal resources must be directed to pediatric research.”  “We should stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on political campaigns and conventions, when these resources would be better spent discovering knowledge about diseases and disorders to develop cures,” says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

The bill has bipartisan support in the House, and several children’s advocacy organizations have voiced their support for the measure as well.  The Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research says “this infusion of funds would provide a much-needed boost to our pediatric research community, enabling it to expand research efforts to identify causes of and treatments for many of the most devastating diseases and disorders that affect children.” And the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation says the bill “could help us realize new therapies and research breakthroughs that could improve the quality of life for people with T1D [type 1 diabetes] and help reduce the associated costs of the disease, sooner rather than later.” 

According to the Nicholas Conor Institute for Pediatric Cancer Research, “one in every 330 children in the United States develops cancer before the age of nineteen,” and “approximately 2,300 children will die from cancer in any given year.”  The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act sends a clear signal that advancing research efforts in pediatric cancer and other diseases to help these children and their families is among our nation’s top priorities.    

Show your support for H.R. 2019 by becoming a citizen co-sponsor, and tweeting about the bill using the hashtag #kidsfirst.