LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — An act that will redirect taxpayer funding for presidential nominating conventions to pediatric medical research was signed into law at the White House Thursday.
The legislation, Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, will designate $12.6 million of taxpayer-provided presidential election campaign funds to pediatric research annually through 2023.
The bill is named for a 10-year-old Loudoun County, Va., 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 it was with “pride, sadness and determination” that they traveled to D.C. to watch the bill get signed.
In addition to bipartisan support in Congress, several children’s advocacy organizations, including the Children’s Hospital Association and The Coalition for Pediatric Medical Research, voiced their support for the measure.
“Any time common sense can cut through the noise in Washington, it is a good day for America,” House Speaker John Boehner said after the Senate passed the bill in March.
“When the voice of reason is a little girl with a big heart, it is a great day. Passage of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is an important bipartisan achievement that will help us better fight and end diseases that affect our children.”
Leesburg Today reports that Gabriella started a fundraising campaign for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in late 2012, 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.
In Thursday’s post on Gabriella’s Facebook fan page, Ellyn Miller writes that she was recently going through her daughter’s school bag, and found her daily agenda book.
“My ten year old daughter, my Sweet GG, who was dying from cancer, had big goals… How many of you have your future goals written down? I certainly didn’t but a dying ten year old did!”
In her agenda, Gabriella wrote that she wanted to get her foundation going and speak more. Her ultimate mission? “Raise Childhood Cancer Awareness.”
And while the bill is a huge step, the family’s work is not done yet.
“I acknowledge that this is an incredibly important step for childhood cancer awareness,” Miller writes. “But, yet, we have so very far to go for our children that are battling cancer.”