To see a child struggle with anything is tough, sometimes heartbreaking especially when it comes to illnesses like cancer.

There is a piece of legislation, sponsored by Morris County State Senator Anthony Bucco (R), which may be able to help with the fight.

(Photo Courtesy: Senate NJ/NJ Leg)
(Photo Courtesy: Senate NJ/NJ Leg)

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The bill, S-3724, sponsored by Senator Bucco will go towards funding pediatric cancer research in New Jersey and it just got approved by the State Senate, announced in a statement by Senate Republicans.

Senator Bucco says this legislation will appropriate $5 million to the New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Fund, which will be created through separate legislation, S-1431, a bill that the Senate passed unanimously, 38-0 on June 3.

The New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research will oversee the management of the fund, per Senator Bucco, and they "would be responsible for soliciting, evaluating, and approving applications from qualifying research institutions for grants from the fund to conduct research relating to the causes, prevention, education, screening, treatment, and cure of pediatric cancer."

This isn't just legislation or a cause just because, Senator Bucco explains that he wants to help children and their families with a cancer diagnosis find better treatment and survive to live long prosperous lives.

Pediatric cancer is something close to home for Senator Bucco as well.

“As a survivor of pediatric cancer, I know there are few things that can make a child feel so scared or parents so helpless,” Bucco (R-25), said in a statement. “I am thankful every day that I was one of the lucky ones who survived. With better-funded research, we can improve treatments and survival rates to ensure that luck is no longer a factor in deciding which children with cancer will have an opportunity to grow up and live full lives.”

As his legislation moved through the Statehouse and got the approval in the Senate, Bucco was inspired by a childhood cancer survivor who also shared her story with those on the Senate floor.

“On Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day in February, I had the honor of joining with a group of legislators to hear the story of a brave little girl, Grace Eline, who battled and thankfully recovered from a brain tumor,” added Bucco. “While we want more success stories like Grace, we don’t want children to have to endure the process in the first place. More research is needed to help us prevent pediatric cancers before they happen and make treatments easier and more successful when needed.”

Senator Bucco said that Grace and her mom testified in support of the legislation during the Health Committee meeting on May 6, 2021.

After the bill was approved in the Senate, Senator Bucco has turned his attention towards working with Senate President Steve Sweeney to increase the funding of the New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Fund from $5 million to $10 million.

The death rate for childhood cancers has dropped over the last few decades, but it's still a common cause of death for children, according to the National Cancer Institute, who estimates that 10,500 new cases will be diagnosed in 2021 for children between birth and 14-years old.

More research, more prayers are needed.

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