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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

NIH Research Budgets, Newt Gingrich, and Emily Beazley – It Is Irresponsible to Fail to Double

Near the home of Emily Beazley

Near the home of Emily Beazley (photo courtesy of Daily Southtown/Chicago Tribune)

A stem cell transplant has failed for 12 year old Emily Beazley, and so non-Hodgkin lymphoma is killing her in its vicious, painful way. Emily lives on the southwest side of Chicago near where my daughters have gone to high school. Her story is now headline news in the Daily Southtown, the Chicago Tribune and many local media outlets. My younger daughter’s high school soccer team, the high school (Marist) and countless others are doing what they can to provide financial and emotional support for Emily and her family, but it’s far from enough. The journey for Emily and her family is chronicled on a Caring Bridge page for Emily’s Entourage, and a Facebook page. A recent YouTube video will leave anyone in tears. More support is needed, but can only address symptoms and will not address the root problem of finding out the “how and why” of this and other awful diseases.

How to get to the root problem of finding the “how and why” of diseases? One part of the answer lies in national investment in research against awful diseases. Newt Gingrich recently ripped Congress for across the board budget cuts that have badly hurt budgets for research through the National Institutes of Health. Newt is correct in saying “it is irresponsible” to fail to DOUBLE  federal research budgets for awful diseases.  Everyone should be calling their legislators and demanding expanded federal budgets for disease research. Research matters because we are now in an age of molecular science at which researchers are finding treatments and answers we could not dream of only a year or two ago. We are making progress against blood cancers, but so much more is needed for that and all of the other awful diseases. Every year, the US death toll from cancer equals the population of Vermont.  Diseases are the world’s most effective terrorists, and we should spend far more on disease research than we do on homeland security.

Imagine being a member of Emil’s family. “She’s in so much pain right now,” Nadia said. “I’m her mom and I’m supposed to fix her and I just can’t do anything.”

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