Bush signs pediatric cancer bill named for Rep.Pryce's daughterTuesday, July 29, 2008 By Jonathan Riskind
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCHWASHINGTON -- They've been in a tough fight with avicious disease, but two little girls from central Ohio emerged from the Oval Office and walked out onto the driveway outside the White House this morning with wide grins, official pins andpresidential words of encouragement.
Hannah Lewis, 7, of Reynoldsburg and Eden Adams, 8,of New Albany, who became friends as they underwent cancer treatment at Nationwide Children's Hospitalin Columbus, were among those on hand to watch President Bush sign a pediatric cancer bill into law.
The Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood CancerAct was crafted by Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-UpperArlington, and named by lawmakers after her daughter, who died in 1999 after battling neuroblastoma.B
oth Hannah and Eden used the same word to describe meeting the president and first lady, being given presents and a tour of the Oval Office: "Cool."The signing ceremony was not open to the press aside from still photographers, but Hannah's mother,Jessica Lewis, said Bush told the families that he knew "we were going through a tough time and wished us the best."
Jessica Lewis and Eden's father, Rourke Adams, said they hope the next step after President Bush's signature will be for Congress to approve spending the first $30 million installment this year of what the law calls for: $150 million over five years for such initiatives as expanded pediatric cancer research and a national childhood cancer database.
The single parents saw their friendship at Nationwide Children's Hospital, which paid for the families to attend the White House signing ceremony,blossom into a relationship."This is something we deal with every day," RourkeAdams said about having a child who is battling cancer. Adams said it is his hope that a fully funded cancer database will in future years give researchers more information about why children develop cancer.
After the signing ceremony, Pryce said shewas "delighted" to see her legislation enacted.The president and first lady spent a lot of time with the children and families - including Hannah's five-year-old brother, Duncan, and Eden's brother Riley, 14 - before Bush wielded his signing pen,Pryce said. Bush lost his three-year-old sister Robin to leukemia in 1953 and Bush told Pryce he is looking forward to telling his parents that he gott o sign the pediatric cancer bill into law, thec ongresswoman added."This is a great step forward," Pryce said. "We have been waiting for this day for years now."