When you run for Congress you meet a lot of people. I've been blessed to meet thousands of wonderful folks all over North Carolina's 8th District, but I want to tell you about someone I met recently who has touched my life.
My family has been going through what too many families go through - my sister-in-law is fighting cancer. She is a strong and wonderful woman who shows me and others around her every day what real courage is. Maybe it is because of her illness that I first noticed a local news story on a young man from Hoke County named Ven Davis who is planning a cross country bike trek to raise awareness about the type of cancer his 4 1/2 year old son, Kai, is fighting. Ven is fighting for his son Kai's life and trying to do anything he can to get folks to pay attention to what his child and other children are facing.
When Kai was 2½, doctors found a lump in his stomach. He had Stage 4 neuroblastoma, cancer of the nervous system.
"It was pretty devastating. I cried a lot. I called my daddy. He said it was gonna be all right. And Kai, he's helped me, because he faced it like a trouper," Davis said.
After two weeks of chemotherapy at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, Kai is back biking with dad and sister, Jasmine.
And dad has made up his mind.
"When we got a call from the doctors saying the cancer cells had come back in his bone marrow — I've been training and all -- but that's when my mind said, 'I'm going.' People need to hear this story,” Davis explained.
He plans on telling that story by biking across the U.S.A. Davis is trying to get sponsorships for his biking odyssey. His employer and Hawley’s Bicycle World in Fayetteville have pledged their support.
He wants to visit hospitals that treat children with cancer. He wants to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research on children's cancer.
Unfortunately, Kai's story isn't unusual. According to a report by the National Cancer Institute 46 new children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each week and cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children.
But Kai and his family, as you see in this news video, are extraordinary. I was just so impressed with the love of a father for his son and his desperation to make people listen to what was happening, that I had to get to know Ven and his family and figure out how I could help them. Ven and I went on a ride to help him train. My Minister Larry Wilson, also a cyclist, dropped by to see us off Friday morning. We did 71 miles, but I could see by Ven's determination he could have done twice that. He is a man with a mission and folks like he and his wife Shana and their fight for their family make me realize that my run for Congress is really about each and every family's fight for survival. I am determined to keep that first and foremost in my mind.
I'm going to do all I can to help Ven and Shana make people listen to what Kai is facing. Make no mistake, they are up for the fight - they both served our Country in the military. Ven is a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. We all need to help tell Kai's story and get some attention for pediatric cancer.
Ven will be traveling across this nation and I need you to reach out and help tell his story. Remember the real reason we do what we do isn't the issues themselves - it is how those issues impact our citizens and affect our great Country. It is time to make sure our tax dollars aren't wasted. There are important people like Kai who don't have lobbyists - but need full funding. Contact your Representative and tell them to disappoint a special interest or two by using that money to fully fund cancer research.
Additionally, the "Conquer Childhood Cancer Act of 2007" is a great start toward helping Kai's cause.
H. R. 1553
To amend the Public Health Service Act to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 15, 2007
Ms. PRYCE of Ohio (for herself, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. MCCAUL of Texas, Mr. SESTAK, Mr. FERGUSON, Mr. CASTLE, Mr. YARMUTH, Mr. REICHERT, Mr. HASTINGS of Florida, Mr. SCHIFF, Mr. MICA, Mr. RUPPERSBERGER, Mrs. MUSGRAVE, Mr. LARSEN of Washington, Mr. GRAVES, Mr. PLATTS, Mr. CULBERSON, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. HIGGINS, Mr. BOUCHER, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. REYES, Mr. KILDEE, Mr. DREIER, Mr. CHANDLER, Mr. SESSIONS, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. SHUSTER, Mr. AL GREEN of Texas, and Mr. FORBES) introduced the following bill; Latest Major Action: 2007/03/16 Referred to House subcommittee.
The bi-partisan bill has 117 co-sponsors so far. Is your representative one them? Mine isn't...YET. Please keep Ven, Shana, Jasmine, and Kai in your thoughts and prayers and do something to help them and all those you love today.