The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Shill Game

RANT WARNING: I am a bit cheesed off about our government at this moment.

In 2008, President Bush signed legislation that would allow Congress to appropriate $150 million to research for childhood cancer. It would be appropriated in $30 chunks over 5 years. the Act was signed on July 29, 2008 and allowed funding starting in 2008.

When the Act went through Congress, it was voted on unanimously. All but 17 Representatives voted yes and the 17 were non-votes, making it an unanimous vote. The Senate sent it through to Bush with unanimous consent.

The allusion, or illusion if you like that word better, is that an extra $30 million would be given to childhood cancer each year, for five years. The truth is it was a wonderful game, or lie if you wish, from our Congress.

In 2008, nothing was given to the Act. In 2009, nothing was given to the act. Now, we have the following statement coming out of our government for 2010:

The National Cancer Institute reports that it is meeting the funding
level identified for pediatric cancer research in the Caroline Pryce
Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2008 within its base budget. The
conferees commend NCI for its attention to this issue.

So, the NCI has already agreed to spend more than $30 million, so we just call it a wash. For the record the NCI funds “childhood cancer” at about $170 million per year. Here is the graph (from


Looks pretty good at first glance. An additional $30 million would mean over $200 million for pediatric cancer. But what percent of this money is actual spent on childhood cancer trials (as that is where gains are made)?


We are spending more, but doing less? How can this be. AUTHOR’S NOTE: $26 million is less than $30 million. Here is the intent of the Caroline Walker Price Conquer Childhood Cancer Act (see actual text of H.R. 1553 here):

To amend the Public Health Service Act to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.

Note the intent of the law is “to advance medical research and treatments”, not to advance the public relations of our elected officials as they switch the money promised to advance cancer research and change it into monies already allocated.

Spending for 2010 (

  • $4 million for the CDC to study looking into a pediatric cancer registry
  • $1 million for educational materials for parents of children with cancer

So we MAY get a registry finally and we have some reading material. The other $25 million for 2010 is already in the NCI budget, probably to fund the $26 million they were already going to spend on pediatric cancer so they can take away that money and devote it to pediatric AIDS (NOTE: a portion of the pediatric cancer budget is spent on pediatric AIDS).

That is how a shill game works folks. Watch the pea! Watch the pea! No, it’s not there, so I am taking your money and putting it elsewhere. You should have kept your eye on the pea. Thank you for playing. Don’t you just love me for giving you the opportunity to play.

On a positive note, Congress has passed an act from Committee to regulate the BCS bowl system. The Democrats (no Republicans allowed?) have agreed to compromise on health care and they are already talking re-stimulating the economy to add to the massive failure from earlier this year (well, success if you include the jobs in non-existent Congressional districtsColorado had 17 out of 7 Congressional districts reporting jobs saved or created). But no additional monies for childhood cancer.

Let’s summarize:

  • No additional funding for childhood cancer in 2009 (unless the $2 million earmark stays in the defense appropriations)
  • $1 million in brochures and a $4 million on a study for a pediatric cancer registry in 2010

To quote Joe Wilson (only a bit more appropriate this time and not aimed at Obama):


Please note there are some Representatives and Senators that are interested in funding this. As soon as I can get some names, I will pass them on. Our elected officials who believe a promise is a promise should be commended for their actions on childhood cancer. The rest of them should be berated, especially those on the appropriations committee.

If you are interested, I would mark down June 21-22, 2010 for Cure Search’s reach the Day. This is a great time to descend on Washington DC and bring the media in tow.

Other posts in this series:

·         Working with Relative Numbers (AIDS vaccine, Cancer Drugs)

·         Childhood Cancer Statistics (13,712 estimated diagnosed in 2008)

·         Understanding Appropriations – The Carolyn Price Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act

Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld


One Response to The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Shill Game

  1. Mike Stewart says:

    I found this very interesting.

    I am a member of the Tennessee Legislature. I have been considering introducing legislation to facilitate data-sharing among institutions. Do you know anything more about the 4 million dollar study for a pediatric cancer registry? Is that real in your opinion?


    Mike Stewart

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: