For 4 years, Joe Posey has been making sure his granddaughter Mary Elizabeth would be remembered.
"She said, 'If I die, it'll be OK, mom, as long as it helps other people.' When I heard that, I said, 'That's what I'm doing the rest of my life,'" said Posey.
His most recent trip took him to Washington D.C. where he met with Senator David Perdue and Congressman Austin Scott.
Posey asked them to support the S.T.A.R. Act. - Childhood Cancer Survivorship Treatment Access and Research Act. The bill, signed into effect last year, needs to be approved again this year. Since only 1980, only 3 new cancer treatments were approved for children. Posey says he'd like to see the National Cancer Institute using more money to find a cure.
4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget goes to childhood cancer research. Posey says treatment needs an upgrade.
The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation says more than 95% of cancer survivors will have significant health-related problems before they are 45 as a result of the treatments. "You don't give your child adult Tylenol, you give them Children's Tylenol," said Posey.
Posey says he had a great talk with Senator Perdue who cosponsored the S.T.A.R. Act.
“No child should have to suffer from this horrible disease. With top-tier hospitals and research institutions across the state, I’m proud that Georgia is leading the country in advancing childhood cancer research and treatment.” – U.S. Senator David Perdue
"It's gonna take the President or some high-ranking official to say, 'I'm sick of hearing childhood cancer stories,'" said Posey.
Posey says it was an emotional trip with highs and lows, but he hopes he can make the trip again and share Mary Elizabeth's story with other lawmakers. He met personally with Representative Scott and Senator Perdue, but he also talked to aides of 4 other members of Congress.
Posey says he's always looking for opportunities to speak about childhood cancer awareness. If you're interested in having him speak, you can reach him at 478-550-7113.