When my 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in 1987, I was grateful for the early research being done on bone marrow transplantation—a treatment that ultimately saved her life. Total body radiation and chemotherapy were so toxic to her little body. I hoped that someday children would have gentler treatment options. It has been thirty-five years since her diagnosis, and in those thirty-five years, the treatment protocol for children diagnosed with AML has barely changed.
Cancer remains the number one cause of death by disease for children in the U.S, and unlike many adult cancers that have declined in incidence, childhood cancer incidence is increasing. Despite these alarming statistics, 29 states do not include any childhood cancer language in their comprehensive cancer plans; and as of 2017, no states had specifically appropriated funding for childhood cancer research in their state budgets.
This is why I am grateful to ACCO’s Board of Directors for their support over the past 23 years and proud of my staff’s continued commitment to changing these statistics. ACCO is actively participating in 34 state cancer plan working group coalitions, with the goal of including childhood cancer language and strategies in all 50 states. ACCO is also leading the way in securing state-level funding for childhood cancer research. Through our “What About Kids” Research Initiative, ACCO has secured $72.4 million since 2018 with more than $30 million appropriated in the last year! I’m happy to share that significant childhood cancer research is occurring because of the appropriations in KY, MD, NJ, and PA!
I’m also honored to share that in October, the World Health Organization (WHO), under the sponsorship of ACCO, launched its first-ever global survey to amplify the voices of pediatric and adult cancer survivors, caregivers, and bereaved families. By better understanding the psychosocial and financial tolls of cancer, we can more effectively support the people it impacts. This survey hopes to reach more than 100,000 responders from 100 countries.
If cancer has impacted you or a loved one, we want your story too. Please click here to take the survey.
As ACCO dedicates its 53rd year to providing hope to children with cancer and their families, I invite you to dedicate your commitment to ACCO through your end-of-year appeal. Your gift will further our vision towards shaping policy, securing appropriations for state-based childhood cancer research, raising awareness, and providing educational resources and innovative comfort programs to our nation’s children with cancer. Together, we can make a difference, so that other children with cancer don’t have to wait until the year 2057 to see change.
Secure donations can be made at acco.org/donate or mailed to ACCO, P.O. Box 498, Kensington, MD 20895-0498.
Ruth I Hoffman, MPH, CEO, ACCO