Santa Fe Family to Urge Congress to Fully Fund Bipartisan STAR Act

March 26, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Santa Fe residents and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers Dr. Janis Gonzales and Liesl Gonzales travel to Washington, D.C., today to share the story of their daughter and sister, urge lawmakers to fully fund the bipartisan Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research Act, and ensure childhood cancer research remains a national priority.

Dr. Gonzales is a pediatrician who was her daughter’s caregiver when she passed away from leukemia at age 2 in 2004. She helped establish Mariposa Hospice at the University of New Mexico’s hospital after her daughter died because there was no pediatric hospice at the time. Their family had to spend her daughter's last few weeks in the hospital rather instead of at home. Dr. Gonzales will be joined in Washington by her older daughter Liesl, who was just 5 when her sister died. She is now 20 years old and majoring in public health.

The Gonzales’s will join more than 200 other cancer patients, survivors and family members in the nation’s capital for Childhood Cancer Action Day, a two-day event organized by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, of which ACS CAN is a member. Participants will ask lawmakers to fully fund the STAR Act, continue to make strong investments in the National Institutes for Health and the National Cancer Institute to help advance discoveries in the fight against childhood cancer, and to pass the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) to advance the quality of life of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families.

An estimated 11,000 children under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States this year. Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death among children in the United States.

WHAT:        Spokespeople available to share their family’s cancer story and highlight the importance of funding and expanding childhood cancer research.

WHO:           Dr. Janis Gonzales and her daughter Liesl are traveling to Washington, D.C., to urge their members of Congress to increase funding for pediatric cancer research

WHEN:        Available for interviews upon their return from Washington, D.C.

**Photos from the Childhood Cancer Action Day will be available after the event**

To schedule an interview, contact ACS CAN Senior Regional Media Advocacy Manager Adrienne Lynch at 281-414-2779.