Arlington Resident Urges Congress to Fully Fund Bipartisan STAR Act, Ensure Childhood Cancer Research Remains a National Priority

February 26, 2024

ARLINGTON, V.A. – February 26, 2024 – Arlington native and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteer Olivia Bartrum recently trekked to Capitol Hill to share about her experience with pediatric cancer. During her visit, she urged lawmakers, including Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Representatives Don Beyer and Abigail Spanberger, to fund childhood cancer programs and ensure childhood cancer research remains a national priority.

Bartrum joined around 200 other cancer patients, survivors and family members from 32 states and the District of Columbia in the nation’s capital for the 14th Annual Alliance for Childhood Cancer Action Days, a two-day event organized by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, of which ACS CAN is a member. Olivia Bartrum CCLD

Participants asked lawmakers to fully fund the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act to improve the quality of life of childhood cancer patients, survivors and their families.  They also called on lawmakers to cosponsor the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act, which reduces regulatory burdens to allow children with complex medical needs greater access to out-of-state providers who can best meet their needs. Additionally, they urged Congress to 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.

Bartrum was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer, at two years old. Now, 15 years later and well into remission, Bartrum is a passionate advocate for her fellow pediatric cancer patients and survivors.

“I was incredibly lucky to have received the care that I did and respond as well as I did to the treatment. Many of my peers didn’t have such luck,” said Bartrum. “I can remember when this crystalized for me. During treatment, I had made friends with another pediatric cancer patient and, one day when we were meant to play between our infusions as we always did, she wasn’t there. She didn’t make it. That was when I felt my passion—to help secure a world without pediatric cancer, to do so through research and advocacy—was born.”  

Bartrum is currently a senior in high school and plans to pursue a career in radiation oncology.

“Getting to connect with lawmakers to share my story as a survivor and lend my perspective as an aspiring health care professional has been immensely rewarding. The work we do as advocates has an impact. I am eager to continue to help facilitate progress in the fight against cancer—in the halls of government as well as in research labs and hospital rooms,” said Bartrum.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14. About 9,620 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2024.  An estimated 1,040 children under the age of 15 are expected to die from cancer in 2024.


About ACS CAN  

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. We engage our volunteers across the country to make their voices heard by policymakers at every level of government. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to make cancer a top priority for policymakers in cities, states and our nation’s capital. Join the fight by visiting


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