LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — An act that would redirect taxpayer funding for presidential campaigns and conventions to pediatric medical research is on the floor of the House of Representatives today.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is named for a 10-year-old Loudoun County girl who spent much of her 11-month battle with brain cancer helping to raise awareness about childhood brain tumors and money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. She died in October.
A post on Gabriella’s Facebook fan page , which is run by her parents, says they will be at the Capitol today to be on hand for the debate and vote.
The act is sponsored by Rep. Gregg Harper, a Republican from Mississippi. It’s cosponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
In addition to bipartisan support in the House, several children’s advocacy organizations, including the Children’s Hospital Association and The Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research, have voiced their support for the measure.
“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 legislation would designate $13 million of taxpayer-provided presidential election campaign funds to pediatric research. If passed in Congress, this would happen annually for the next 10 fiscal years.
Before her death, Gabriella was interviewed by The Truth 365, a documentary and social media campaign with the goal of raising awareness about kids fighting cancer. They produced a series of videos, and in one of them she voiced her opinion about the importance of increased funding for pediatric cancer in particular.
“Once you get cancer, you kind of got to be all grown up,” she said. “And you don’t really have a childhood,” she added, breaking into tears. “It’s not fair that us kids get… so little from the world. Just because we’re smaller, just because we don’t know as much, doesn’t mean we’re not important.”
Leesburg Today reports that Gabriella started a fundraising campaign for the Make-A-Wish Foundation late last year, soon after she found out that the organization would fund her wish, a trip to Paris.
She saw an advertisement for Macy’s A Million Reasons to Believe campaign, which donates $1 to Make-A-Wish for every Dear Santa letter it receives, and set out to deliver 10,000 letters. Ultimately, she delivered nearly a quarter million.
In May, Gabriella won Loudoun County’s Volunteer of the Year Award for her fundraising efforts. Also in May, Make-A-Wish sent her and her family to France for a two-week trip.
To become a citizen cosponsor of The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, click here.