In her short life, Gabriella Miller
accomplished much and inspired many, and in her name the fight will continue.
Not only did the Loudoun Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution of Honor and Respect for Gabriella this month, but a bipartisan group of legislators from both houses of Congress has lent its support to a research bill. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the divide in Washington, D.C., these days.
Diagnosed at age 9 with an inoperable brain tumor the size of a walnut, Miller passed away in 2013. The family symbolically smashed walnuts to represent the tumor during her treatment, ultimately creating the Smashing Walnuts Foundation to raise money for research and treatment.
Gabriella raised more than $275,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while accomplishing some of her own dreams, such as earning a college degree and becoming a published author (See Beamer Learns About Cancer by Cindy Chambers).
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors previously selected Gabriella as Loudoun’s Volunteer of the Year for 2013. Earlier this month, they adopted the Resolution of Honor and Respect. Gabriella’s parents, Mark and Ellyn Miller, and her brother Jake attended the board meeting and participated in a ceremony.
“The Board of Supervisors and the citizens of Loudoun County do stand together to honor the devotion and inspiration of Gabriella Miller for her dedication and support of other children facing serious health conditions,” the resolution read in part. “The Board of Supervisors notes with great sadness the loss of a dedicated activist and outstanding young citizen, Gabriella Miller.”
In DC, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced Monday bipartisan, bicameral support for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.
In December, the House of Representatives voted 295-103 to pass the act, which was sponsored by Congressmen Gregg Harper (R-MS), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Tom Cole (R-OK). Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) plan to usher the companion bill through the U.S. Senate.
“Gabriella’s fight lives on with the bipartisan Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act,” Cantor said as he announced support for the bill. “Putting a priority on federal funding for pediatric medical research at the NIH will help overcome childhood cancer, autism and many other diseases impacting our children.”
Senator Kaine said, “The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is an important way to honor the memory of this remarkable young Virginian while recognizing the importance of pediatric disease research. I’m honored to support this effort and look forward to doing all I can to move it forward in the Senate.”
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act is supported by over 100 patient advocacy groups and has over 2,600 Citizen Cosponsors. Learn more HERE.
This past weekend, Smashing Walnuts held its inaugural Cracking the Cure gala in Leesburg.