by Amy Godkin, Executive Director, ASK
On Tuesday, ASK joined sixty advocates from around the state for Childhood Cancer Awareness Day at the Virginia General Assembly. It was the culmination of months of work that ASK did as part of the Virginia Childhood Cancer Work Group with a goal of raising the level of care for all children with cancer in the Commonwealth.
Why did we take on this lead role in organizing this event and why do we think this is important?
It’s important that we keep the unique needs of Virginia’s young patients and survivors on the radar of our legislators and that they be included in cancer funding in Virginia.
Right now Virginia’s state budget includes $21 million for cancer funding and none of it is designated for children. We think Virginia can do better than 0%. Children are not just small adults. The same therapies won’t work and can’t simply be scaled down for their size.
Additionally, childhood cancer survivors need follow-up care. Two-thirds of them will require chronic life-long medical care as a result of the disease or its treatment. That’s why we’re working toward establishing a pediatric cancer fund here in Virginia.
What would dedicated funding do?
Right now Virginia’s hospitals and supporting nonprofits like ASK carry 100% of the burden of caring for our young patients and survivors. A dedicated fund would build upon this great care that is already being provided and help each community meet their greatest area of need.
ASK has been taking care of Central Virginia’s children with cancer for over forty years. Now we want to help raise the level of care for all pediatric cancer patients and survivors in Virginia. You can learn more and stay engaged with our advocacy efforts by visiting the Virginia Childhood Cancer Work Group webpage.