ICYMI: CBN: Congressman and 11-Year-Old Sidekick Taking the Fight Against Childhood Cancer GlobalPress Release
“Sadie and I have big plans, and we’re going to take this mission global”
Washington, D.C. – After forming the House Childhood Cancer Caucus over a decade ago and subsequently passing four bills to improve pediatric cancer treatments in the U.S., Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently announced he is taking his initiative global. In an interview with Christian Broadcast Network, McCaul, who was joined by a childhood cancer survivor from Texas, Sadie Kellar, announced that he will pursue legislation to bolster childhood cancer efforts in Africa.
The United States has been successful with over an 80 percent survival rate for pediatric cancer here in the U.S., with certain forms of leukemia having a survival rate of over 90 percent. For the rest of the world, childhood cancer survival rates are far lower. Mortality rates in low middle-income countries are at 80 percent, matching the survival rate we have here in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Lead Republican McCaul led a roundtable with industry leaders from NGOs, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals to discuss the current scope of private-sector childhood cancer initiatives in Africa and the opportunities for public-private partnerships to fight the scourge of childhood cancer globally.
Watch the full interview with CBN here, or continue below to read key highlights.
Christian Broadcast Network
Congressman and 11-Year-Old Sidekick Taking the Fight Against Childhood Cancer Global
Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) wants to take the fight against childhood cancer global, believing US support can make a drastic difference in current fatality rates.
McCaul, who lost his best friend to leukemia in grade school, has been determined to help children fighting cancer since he came to Congress. He founded the Childhood Cancer Caucus more than a decade ago. Through the caucus, he’s met multiple child cancer survivors like 11-year-old Sadie Keller.
“Instantly we just became like best friends,” Sadie told CBN News.
The dynamic duo have worked together for about five years now, and Sadie recently played a key role in getting the STAR Act passed – the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation to date.
“She’s my best lobbyist, I love taking her on the floor,” says McCaul. “It really brought the face of the movement, if you will, to life.”
“She’s a bright light, she took a very bad experience in life and turned it into a positive and that’s what I really admire about her so much,” continued McCaul.
McCaul founded the Childhood Cancer Caucus to give children like Sadie the visibility they need.
“They didn’t have a voice, there’s no lobbyists for these children – I wanted to form the childhood cancer caucus to really give them a voice,” explained McCaul.
Since it began, the caucus has passed four major pieces of legislation.
“There hadn’t been a new drug on the market for childhood cancer since the 1980’s when I first came into office – that has changed now,” he continued.
And the two aren’t finished yet. “Sadie and I have big plans, and we’re going to take this mission global sort of in a missionary way,” explains McCaul.
McCaul says the US has an 80% survival rate for pediatric cancer, but overseas it’s a different story.
“If you look at the continent of Africa, 90% of children who get cancer die – so it’s a very high mortality rate,” he said.
McCaul believes they can use the global infrastructure that was created to fight AIDS and HIV – known as PEPFAR – to bring cancer drugs and treatments into areas without easy access.
“Because the infrastructure is there, and the doctors are there, it’s really a training piece. And then getting the drugs into these countries where we think they could be donated,” explains McCaul.
McCaul says the Texas Children’s Hospital is already doing this in Botswana.
“We’re taking that as a pilot program and expanding that to a global sphere,” says McCaul. “I met the president of Botswana, he said, ‘You saved my generation from extinction with PEPFAR’.”
They hope to continue saving lots of lives through the Global Hope Program, which McCaul says there’s strong bipartisan support for on the Hill. He will soon present it to the UN.
“It’s kind of hard to say no to something that could have this much potential to save lives,” continues McCaul.