A pair of bills sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco to fund pediatric cancer research in New Jersey have been signed into law.
Sen. Tony Bucco and Grace Eline, both pediatric cancer survivors, vote YES to fund vital pediatric cancer research in New Jersey during a Senate session on June 21, 2021. (SenateNJ.com)
“As a survivor of pediatric cancer, I know there are few things that can make a child feel so scared or parents so helpless,” said Bucco (R-25). “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.”
S-1431 establishes the New Jersey Pediatric Cancer Research Fund, while S-3724 appropriates $5 million to the new fund, which will be managed by the New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research.
The commission will 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.
Each year in the United States, an estimated 15,780 children aged 0-19 will be diagnosed with cancer and at any given time there are approximately 40,000 children on active treatment, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Approximately 1 in 285 children in the country will be diagnosed with cancer before their 20th birthday.
While cancer survival rates for children have improved significantly over the past 50 years, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children.
“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.”
From left: Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Grace Eline, Senator Anthony Bucco, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean. (SenateNJ.com)
On June 21, Grace joined Senator Bucco on the Senate floor and helped him to cast his vote in support of the funding.
Aubrey Reichard-Eline, Grace’s mom, said she was happy to see the measures signed into law.
“I want to thank Senator Bucco, Senate President Sweeney, and Governor Murphy for their support of our efforts to fight pediatric cancer in New Jersey,” said Reichard-Eline. “Through the research that will be funded by these new laws, we will help more children to share Grace’s experience of beating cancer.”