Doctors and concerned parents say government should "be ashamed" of lack of funding for pediatric cancer

09/17/2014 03:19 PM

LOUISVILLE — In an emotional meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Health & Welfare Tuesday, parents of young cancer patients and the doctors who treat them pleaded with lawmakers to make funding for pediatric cancer a priority.

Lobbyist Jamie Bloyd was first to testify in front of the interim committee Wednesday at the office of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky where she told legislators the story of her son’s diagnosis. Her son, Paxton Bloyd was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma in March 2014.

Bloyd said during her son’s treatment and her family’s journey, she learned a lot about the funding for pediatric cancer and of the extreme need there is for more.

Noting low funding statistics, Bloyd told lawmakers she also learned of a troubling budget statistic in the state from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, when he visited the Bloyd family in the hospital.

“He brought to our attention that $10 million of our budget goes to dental care for inmates. But zero dollars go to pediatric cancer research in Kentucky and I just think that is sickening, I think our kids deserve better than our inmates do,” Bloyd said in her testimony. “Our budget reflects our priorities, we should be ashamed.”

Dr. Ken Lucas, a Pediatric Cancer & Blood Disease specialist at the University of Louisville, told the committee that the South Korean car company Hyundai is providing more funding for pediatric cancer efforts than the government, which he said is very troubling.

“I’m not one of these people that thinks that the government has to give us everything, but it is pretty pathetic. The funding from the federal government is ridiculous,” Lucas said. “So whatever you can do…please, it is needed.”

Max Wise, who won the 16th district Republican primary to unseat Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, attended the meeting with his son who is a pediatric cancer survivor. While the Wise family did not testify during the meeting, they were recognized quite a bit throughout.

In an interview with Pure Politics after the meeting, Wise also noted some of the efforts discussed by Lucas as well as the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and said that there are encouraging signs that there are people looking to help find solutions.

“Government isn’t always the solution. Maybe it is other organizations that chip in if it is charities, if its corporations,” Wise said. “Its little things along the way that everyone can chip in on this and it should not be ‘let’s just look to government to solve this,’ there’s other sources out there which can play a big part.”

Wise did say the education and awareness that took place in the committee meeting needs to continue and added that nothing can be done to remove the road blocks in the way of successful research and treatment without a group effort.

You can hear the Wise family’s story of their son Carter’s diagnosis below:


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