Childhood Cancer STAR Act passed and awaits presidents signature

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

By: Newschannel 3


The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act passed by the U.S. House on Tuesday.

The bill, which has already passed the U.S. Senate, gives $30 million a year through 2023 to the National Childhood Cancer Registry and will allow the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to create experimental programs aimed at improving care for childhood cancer survivors.

“Following on the heels of the 21st Century Cures Act, this is another important step to help find cures and treatments for our smallest patients bravely battling disease,” said U.S. Representative Fred Upton in a release. “This bill will bolster research and treatment efforts for pediatric cancer. With today’s strong bipartisan vote, this bill now heads to the president’s desk. For patients, here in Michigan and across the country – hope is on its way.”

The bill will need to be signed in to law by President Donald Trump.

A Richland family helped fight to get the STAR Act passed.

Emma Pederson, 11, was 3-years-old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She immediately went on an aggressive, three-year chemotherapy schedule at Bronson hospital.

The experience is a big reason her and her mom went to Washington D.C. to support the STAR Act in April 2018.

Mary Kay Pederson said, “We really want childhood cancer to become a national priority. We need more funding, we need more research, we need less toxic treatments. I mean, these kids are taking drugs that are decades old, that the adults take and they have to modify for the children. The side effects are cruel,”

Emma and her mom spoke to the U.S. House and Michigan senators to lobby support for the bill.

The Pederson’s were inspired to start the local non-profit Cancer Families United, which provides support to families in West Michigan dealing with childhood cancer.

Cancer Families United recently held a photography gala in Kalamazoo to help raise money for the cause.

Organizers said the event raised a little over $2,000.

Cancer Families United will be hosting another fundraiser at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. June 28.

The event will include live music by Huckleberry Groove, appetizers, and a raffle. Regular tickets are $30 and VIP tickets are $50.