November Advocacy Alert: Senator Burr Urged to Include STAR Reauthorization Act and Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 in Year-End Legislation

Today, members of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s leadership from North Carolina sent the following letter to Senator Richard Burr (NC) in support of the Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act and Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. As a ranking member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Burr can help influence what bills will be included in Congress’ year-end spending package. Both bills are crucial to the future of childhood cancer research.

Read the letter below to learn more about the importance of this legislation and join us in reaching out to your Senators. Templates for tweeting and calling your Senators can be found below our letter. 

Dear Senator Burr,

We are proud residents of North Carolina. We are also advocates for children dealing with brain tumors and rare forms of pediatric cancer. Our organization, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, has worked with countless families and allies throughout the state, and across the U.S., to help address their needs.

Our organization funded a study, published September 2022, that shows pediatric brain cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed and deadliest form of childhood cancer. Our patient families are desperate for research into safer treatment options. Children are often an afterthought in the broader cancer community, and many of our dedicated researchers rely on the federal government to support their efforts. As we approach the end of this year, you and your colleagues have the opportunity to stand up for children with cancer by including two bills in your year-end legislative package.

First, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 (S. 1521) will continue the important progress made since the original bill was passed in 2014. If we allow funding for this program to expire, we will lose years of life-saving research. Its modest request for increased support will accelerate treatment developments that give kids a chance.

The second piece of legislation is the Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act (S. 4120). This bill will approve five years of funding for the most comprehensive and successful childhood cancer legislation in U.S. history. The research being funded by the original STAR Act has furthered our understanding of what it means to live with childhood cancer. It has also led to unprecedented cooperation amongst those in our research community. We are glad to see that your colleague, Senator Tillis, is one of the 35 cosponsors of this legislation.

As a ranking member of the Senate’s HELP committee, your voice is powerful. Kids in North Carolina deserve champions who will fight for their right to survive and thrive. We encourage you to join your colleagues in support of these crucial bills.

Sincerely,
Courtney Davies, President and CEO, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Geoff Still, Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Ian Joyce, Chief Marketing and Mission Experience Officer
Kristin Young, Board of Directors
Anne Sutton, Board of Directors
Chase Jones, Board of Directors
Larry Little, Board of Directors

There are two ways you can join us in asking your Senators to co-sponsor the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 and Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act or thank them if they already are a co-sponsor. Find lists of both bills’ Senate co-sponsors here and here.

1. Tweet your Senators:

If your Senators haven’t co-sponsored the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 or Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act, tag them in a tweet asking them to co-sponsor. Here’s a preview of what your tweets could say:

  • @[Senator’s username] Please co-sponsor the STAR Reauthorization Act. This bill continues the funding of groundbreaking research into better treatments for pediatric cancer. #KidsDeserveCures #ChildhoodCancerAwareness
  • @[Senator’s username] Please co-sponsor the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. Childhood cancer patients and their families rely on the federal government’s support of lifesaving research. #KidsDeserveCures #ChildhoodCancerAwareness 

If your Senators have co-sponsored these bills, tweet them to thank them for their support.

2. Call your Senators’ offices:

Direct contact information for members of the Senate can be found here. The U.S. Capitol switchboard can also easily connect you with your Senators:

  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and say: “Hi, can you please connect me with the senior Senator from my state? My zip code is [zip], thank you.” After you speak with your senior Senator or leave a voicemail, you will need to call back and ask to be connected with the junior Senator from your state.
  • Once you are connected with their office or voicemail, say the following if they haven’t co-sponsored the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 or Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act:“Hi, I’m [your name], one of your constituents from [your town or city]. I want to urge you to protect the health of childhood cancer patients and survivors in any end-of-year package by co-sponsoring two bills: the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 and Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act.Both of these acts are important to making sure that pediatric cancer research continues to be funded. Children with cancer are desperate for research into safer treatment options. They are often an afterthought in the broader cancer community, and many of our dedicated researchers rely on the federal government to support their efforts.As we approach the end of this year, you and your colleagues have the opportunity to stand up for children with cancer by ensuring both acts are included in the year-end legislative package. Please co-sponsor both the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0 and Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act today.[Please feel free to share why these issues matter to you and your loved ones.]”
  • If your Senators have co-sponsored these bills, you can also call them to thank them for their support.

More information about both bills can be found in our September Legislative Update. If you have any questions about a specific bill or reaching out to your Senators, please reach out to Mike Henry, our Director of Advocacy, at [email protected].

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is committed to making kids with brain tumors a national health priority, and these pieces of legislation hold the potential to drive new scientific discoveries. You can make your voice heard and help us educate Congress about the need to pass this legislation by signing up to be an advocate with us. Sign up to receive future advocacy alerts and join our efforts at www.curethekids.org/advocate.