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Legislation in honor of Va. girl could change cancer research

Monday - 12/16/2013, 4:56am  ET

WASHINGTON - The legacy of a 10-year-old Leesburg, Va., girl is living on after she lost her battle with childhood cancer in October.

Last week, the House passed the "Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act." It's a good first step in raising awareness about the fact that so little money goes for childhood cancer research, says the family of Gabriella Miller, who died in October after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Less than 4 percent of the federal cancer research budget is spent on researching kids' cancers. The entire budget is about $5 billion.

Mike Gillette, from Fairfax, Va., is an advocate for kids with cancer. Through his project, "Truth 365," he's trying to sound the alarm and educate the public about how little research money is being spent on children with cancer.

Gillette interviewed Gabriella Miller. Watch the interview below.

Miller was 9 years old when doctors found the tumor, but became a rock star of the cancer world with her crusade against childhood cancer, Gillette says.

"She left a legacy and we're going to fight in her honor," he says.

If it passes through Congress, the bill will ensure funding for pediatric medical research by shifting funds designated for political party conventions. That's approximately $126 million over 10 years.

The research will benefit kids with cancer, children with autism and children affected by other serious illnesses.

The Senate takes up the bill next, but they are not expected to pass it, Gillette says.

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