On Friday, President Obama signed a bill, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which would allocate $125 million to research cures for deadly childhood diseases over the next 10 years.
"That was tremendous. That's exactly what Gabriella wanted to do was to help children. So the fact that it was broader based than just cancer, would make her tremendously proud," said Ellyn Miller, the mother of the little girl whom the bill was named after, WUSA 9 reported.
Gabriella died last October due to a large brain tumor that she was first diagnosed with in November 2012. Since the tumor was the size of a walnut, the family started the Smashing Walnuts Foundation to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer research.
"I took the names into the Oval Office. Kids that have died from cancer. Kids that are fighting cancer. $126 million means an awful lot to them," said Mark Miller, Gabrielle’s father.
President Obama made this statement at the signing:
It is a great honor to be here to sign the Gabriella Miller “Kids First” Research Act. And I want to talk about Gabriella, who is the young girl that this bill is named after.
When Gabriella, a beautiful, fun-loving, smart young lady, was nine years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor about the size of a walnut. And she was tough, and she knew that she had to fight it, and one of the ways that she did was to — it was about the size of a walnut, so she smashed walnuts. And sometimes I’ll bet you might have helped out. And she fought the good fight.
And Gabriella didn’t make it, and she’s in a better place, but her parents, Mark and Ellyn, along with her little brother, Jake, as well as a coalition of outstanding legislators — Republicans and Democrats, standing behind me — as well as advocates, decided that in her memory we needed to make sure that we get more money into research for the National Institute of Health so that we can know more about brain tumors, how they affect children relative to adults, what more we can do to make sure that the pain that the Miller family went through is not something that has to be repeated.
And so what this legislation is going to do is it’s going to put millions of additional dollars into that research. We’re going to need some cooperation from Congress to continue to work on a bipartisan basis to actually allocate those dollars in an effective way. I know that NIH is very eager to work on these pediatric cancers — because obviously nothing is more challenging for a family than to go through something like this, and there’s more we can do for them.
So I want to thank all the legislators who are standing behind me here today. I want to thank all the advocates who are here with us today. I especially want to thank the Miller family for being here. It’s such a wonderful way to remember a wonderful girl.
"Wherever she is right now, she's beaming from ear to ear," Mark said.