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Kid crusader leads fight against cancer

Sunday - 5/12/2013, 10:36am  ET

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Griffin and her mother meet Rep. Jim Moran, whose daughter is a brain cancer survivor, in his office. (Courtesy of Mike Gillette)
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WASHINGTON - Most moms cringe at the idea of their kids being sick.

But one young girl has traveled to the U.S. with a dream of getting out a message about her illness and her mom by her side.

Erin Griffin just turned 13. She's Scottish, but lives in Australia and was diagnosed with DIPG, a rare but very aggressive brain cancer, 14 months ago. Erin and her mom, Amanda Griffin, came to the nation's capital to shine a bright light on the lack of funding for childhood cancer research. There is no cure for Erin's illness, but her dream is to get out the message internationally about the need for more research.

Mike Gillette from Fairfax, Va., is a producer for a childhood awareness cancer project called "Truth 365." He helped get Erin and her mother to the U.S.

Griffin's cancer is so rare that there is little funding for research.

"The average age of death from the day of diagnosis is nine months," he says of DIPG.

Griffin has led the fight through a social media campaign on Facebook. While in D.C., Griffin also met with Dr. Charlie Teo, the internationally-acclaimed brain surgeon from Australia, who will be briefing Congress.

Her tumor is currently inoperable, so the two had never crossed paths before. The briefing was in the Gold Room, which seems fitting, given that Griffin's mission to spread awareness is represented by a gold ribbon. Afterwards Griffin and her mother received a private, behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Capitol.

"Erin has said this is the most important and most rewarding trip of her lifetime," says Gillette. "Her goal is to let people know that childhood cancer is a problem worldwide and that people need to stand up for kids."

Hear Erin's message in her own words:

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