In its first session back from summer recess, Philadelphia City Council unanimously adopted a resolution, introduced by Councilman David Oh, entitled, "Recognizing September 2018 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Philadelphia in Honor of Childhood Cancer Patients, Care Givers, Survivors, and Those Children Who Have Succumbed to the Disease." The resolution, which Councilman Oh introduces annually, serves to raise awareness and recognize local organizations helping to lead the fight against childhood cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists cancer as the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents under age 14 in the United States. There are over a dozen types of childhood cancers, and numerous subtypes make it challenging to find cures for every form of childhood cancer. Despite the significant unmet medical need, pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to develop drugs appropriate for children with cancer because it requires making an investment in products that are unlikely to cover the high costs associated with their research, development, marketing, and distribution. Only 3 drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat any type of pediatric cancer since the 1980s.
The resolution recognizes that on June 5, 2018, the "Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research Act of 2015" or the "Childhood Cancer STAR Act" was signed into federal law. The STAR Act focuses on maximizing childhood cancer survivors' quality of life, moving childhood cancer research forward, and helping children get access to life-saving treatments. Previous Council resolutions had urged Congress to adopt the STAR Act, and copies of the resolutions were sent to the congressional delegation representing Philadelphia.
This year's resolution recognizes No More Kids with Cancer, a nonprofit research accelerator focused exclusively on the discovery of safer, less toxic and more effective treatments for children with cancer. Its creation was inspired by Naya Summy, a remarkable young woman who raised nearly $500,000 for pediatric cancer research and cures while being treated at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for brain cancer before passing away at the age of 11. On October 13, 2018, No More Kids with Cancer will host The Purple Ball at The Navy Yard. The event will celebrate survivors of childhood cancer, honor trailblazers making change in childhood cancer, and raise money and awareness for groundbreaking childhood cancer research. All of the proceeds will be directed towards childhood cancer research.