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Supporting Efforts To Increase Childhood Cancer Awareness, Treatment, And Research

Rep. Frank Pallone

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Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 470) supporting efforts to increase childhood cancer awareness, treatment, and research.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas an estimated 12,400 children are diagnosed with cancer annually; Whereas cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under age 15; Whereas an estimated 2,300 children die from cancer each year; Whereas the incidence of cancer among children in the United States is rising by about one percent each year; Whereas 1 in every 330 Americans develops cancer before age

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) and the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Terry) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey.

Rep. Frank Pallone

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Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New Jersey?

There was no objection.

Rep. Frank Pallone

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume.

I rise today to express my strong support for House Resolution 470, supporting efforts to increase childhood cancer awareness, treatment, and research. I am proud to join my colleagues across the aisle and throughout this body in support of this resolution.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, marking the time when we raise awareness of childhood cancer and the lives affected. Although cancer in children is rare, it is estimated that this year alone more than 12,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer and nearly one-fifth will die, making cancer the leading cause of disease-related deaths for children under the age of 15.

House Resolution 470 reminds us that cancer occurring during childhood has harmful repercussions for a child's future well-being. Cancer compromises a child's natural defenses against other types of illnesses and destroys organs and bones. Cancer disrupts a child's life at a time when he or she should be otherwise more concerned with exploring the world and making new discoveries instead of undergoing chemotherapy or medical therapies.

House Resolution 470 reminds us that more must be done to fight this devastating disease. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of those children and their families attempting to deal with such a terrible disease.

I want to thank in particular the sponsor of this legislation, Representative Pryce of Ohio, because I know that she has worked so hard on this in trying to push it to the floor today. I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Lee Terry

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I stand here today in support of this resolution, as does the full committee Chair, Joe Barton, and Ranking Member Nathan Deal, supporting efforts of this resolution, House Resolution 470, supporting the efforts to increase childhood cancer awareness, treatment and research.

The sponsor of this bill, Representative Deborah Pryce, is a true champion for childhood cancers. Cancer is a brutal disease and so pervasive we are all closely touched by it. It is that much more devastating to see a young child suffer from cancer. This resolution serves to increase knowledge and awareness of cancer among children and how we can encourage research and education into the disease.

Deborah Pryce is a committed mother and a dedicated and tireless advocate. Through this resolution, she is honoring not only the memory of her daughter, but also those of all children who have suffered from cancer. Childhood cancers affect the whole family: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters.

I think it can be said that we all will greatly miss Representative Pryce after her retirement from the House at the end of this Congress. She's leaving a legacy both for her work for her constituents in Ohio, as well as for the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Frank Pallone

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Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Lee Terry

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Mr. Speaker, at this time I yield as much time as she may consume to the gentlelady from Ohio (Ms. Pryce).

Rep. Deborah D. Pryce

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Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank Mr. Terry for the time and for those very kind words, and Mr. Pallone for his support in this cause, and the entire committee for allowing this to come forward.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a voice for the thousands of families across America who have been touched by pediatric cancer, and most importantly, the 12,000 children who will be diagnosed with the disease during this year alone.

This resolution is about a promise to these families that medical advancement and understanding, coupled with a new resolve among researchers, advocates and public officials, will one day eradicate the heartache of pediatric cancer, and promise to the children of our Nation that we will do better to help them in their fight.

The fight of a child with cancer involves many things. It involves being in the hospital and away from your siblings and your best friends, away from your toys and away from the comfort and love of your own home.

It involves confusion and pain after you may have lost your best new friend from the hospital playroom and the heartache that a parent feels having to explain to their child why that happened, all the while knowing that their own child may share the same fate.

And then, there's that different look in the eyes of your parents. Is that fear? But why? I'm going to get better, aren't I?

Mr. Speaker, when a child is diagnosed with cancer, they're forced to say goodbye to their life as they knew it. As they say hello to IV poles and transfusions, catheters, chemotherapy, nausea, surgeries, isolation, they say goodbye to many other things. Because of compromised immune systems, they say goodbye to school and the ordinary routine of growing up. They say goodbye to their friends and their teachers. They say goodbye to their appetite, to their energy, to their hair, and possibly, to some of their limbs. They lose so much. But they never lose hope; and they never lose their dignity.

Mr. Speaker, these are the bravest children I've ever, ever seen.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is the month that these brave kids and their families raise awareness of this awful disease. As these fearless children share their stories in Washington and elsewhere around the country, we learn about strength and courage and will. As their loving families share their stories about how cancer has touched their lives, we learn about resolve and the ultimate a parent can give.

As we hear these stories, we will not lose sight of the incredible hope that these families are providing to tens of thousands of children and other families whose worlds have been turned upside down by cancer, kids whose dreams and aspirations are now in question, who must focus solely on beating this disease today before they can even think about tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, if you've ever looked into the eyes of one of these children who's so valiantly, courageously waging war against this devastating disease, you certainly could understand why we must continue our efforts to raise awareness, and why I stand here today to stress the perpetual importance of continued education and research.

One child who suffers is one too many. We will continue to fight this terrible disease that's wrought so much suffering and pain on so many.

This resolution honors all of the heroic children and thanks them for their courage and the eternal hope that they provide families everywhere.

I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen

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Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 470, a resolution supporting efforts to increase childhood cancer awareness, treatment, and research.

No child should have to experience and suffer the effects of cancer. And no parent should have to see their child suffer. I am proud to be working with Congresswoman Deborah Pryce on such an important issue. Together, we have introduced the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act. The Conquer Childhood Cancer Act would enhance and expand biomedical research programs in childhood cancer and establish a new fellowship program through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for pediatric cancer research. The bill would also increase informational and educational outreach to patients and families affected by pediatric cancer.

Over the last several years after a successful doubling of the NIH budget that ended in 2003, funding for NIH and the National Cancer Institute has been flat. As a result, many cancer clinical trials have had to be scaled back. The Children's Oncology Group, which is headquartered in my congressional district, has had to put 20 new studies on hold and decrease enrollment of new clinical trials by 400 children. This is going in the wrong direction.

Thanks to the past funding in childhood cancer research, we know that 78 percent of childhood cancer patients overall are now able to survive. Forty years ago it was a much different story--the cure rates for children with cancer were lower than 10 percent. This shows that by funding biomedical research we can save lives. Congress must increase funding for NIH and NCI so that it can continue the groundbreaking, life-saving research that will lead to new cures and treatments.

So, I not only urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 470, but I also urge my colleagues to cosponsor the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act and pass that much-needed legislation.

Rep. Lee Terry

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Frank Pallone

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Mr. Speaker, I would, again, urge passage of this resolution, and I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 470.

The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.