More cancer research funding needed for children

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 17:56:31-04

Cancer is a devastating illness that touches almost all of our lives, but finding that elusive cure takes a lot of money. Only a fraction of government funding goes to kids cancer research.

You’d never know it from the smile on Charlotte Becnel’s face, but her 22-month-long life hasn’t always been easy. She’s been battling A.M.L, a form of leukemia.

“You don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to think, you don’t know how to think,” Kristin Becnel said.  

The Becnels said they listened to doctors and God, now Charlotte is in the middle of her treatment at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. She’s in remission, in part thanks to research over the last few years.

“The plan that they put us on for Charlotte was from like 2006 and so it’s only been a few years now,” Jordan Becnel said.

Dr. Gregory Hale said critical research for kids needs more funding, less than 1% of funding from the federal government for cancer research goes to pediatric cancer.

“The ultimate goal  is that no child will die of cancer and the cure rate goes to 100% the only way you go from the 80% we are now up to 100% is through bringing new therapies to the clinic and that’s through clinical research,” Hale said.

All Children’s Hospital has about 125 clinical research studies right now, but Dr. Hale said there’s still not one for every kid battling cancer.  They rely on donations to keep exploring potential cures.

“Research allows patients to get cutting edge therapies that ultimately improve outcomes allows patients access to new medications that may reduce side effects and improve their quality of life,” Hale said.

The Becnels hope Charlotte’s treatment will wrap up in the next three months. They’ve already agreed to share Charlotte’s information to future studies that need it.