Lincoln, NEB. A bill that would give 1.8 million dollars to pediatric cancer research at UNMC advanced in the legislature Wednesday as part of a larger budget bill, LB 905.
The appropriations committee voted Wednesday morning to advance the budget bills to the floor for debate in an 8-1 vote.
It all started with with the Ahlschwede family writing a letter to Nebraska state senators asking them not only to bring attention to pediatric cancer, but to take action to help provide funds for more research.
Their two-year-old daughter Leyna was diagnosed with a Neuroblastoma at 18 months. She now weighs less than she did then.
The Ahlschwedes say a huge problem with pediatric cancer is that it just doesn't get enough funding. According to the National Cancer Institute, Nebraska is one of seven states with the highest rates of pediatric cancer.
The family hopes this bill could be a step to change that.
"If we get Leyna through this and she is one of those 30 percent margins of survival and she makes it, we owe it not only to her but to every other child in Nebraska and every other child elsewhere, to do something," said Karri Ahlschwede, Leyna's mom.
During Thursday's legislative session, Senator Danielle Conrad of Lincoln introduced LB764.
The bill would take $1.8 million from the cash reserve for pediatric cancer research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Conrad says the one time transfer of Nebraska's money could help research a lot.
"There's about 1.8 million people in Nebraska, symbolically, what if we each pitched in a dollar towards this very, very important cause. So that's why I'm asking for $1.8 million to help boost pediatric cancer research right here in Nebraska," said Conrad.
Karri Ahlschwede is a former classmate of Danielle Conrad.