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Val Marshall is no stranger to cancer, her son Addison was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 at age fifteen and relapsed in late 2010. During the hardest parts of treatment, Val dreamt of seeing her son graduate from high school and go to college. In May 2012, Val's dream became a reality. After 1,108 days of treatment, Addison finally completed treatment and started preparing for his next journey, college.
Although Addison's treatment may be complete, his battle is far from over. For the rest of his life he will suffer the late effects of the treatments that saved him. While his mother cannot take these side-effects away, she can do her best to make sure that no other kids have the same experience. That is why this June, Val made her second trip to Washington, DC for Childhood Cancer Action Day to meet with lawmakers about supporting children's cancer legislation.
"My trip to DC was productive and exciting as the Creating Hope Act was attached to the successful FDA bill that is being readied for Obama's signature," says Val of her time in DC. "This will offer market incentives for drug companies in the production of medicines for pediatric cancer." This is especially important to Val because her son was treated with drugs that were developed 20 years ago. The fact that there have been just 3 new drugs created since then still surprises her and when she shares that fact with others, their eyes widen in disbelief.
Along with her yearly trips to DC, Val also acts as an advocate at home in Fulshear, Texas. She is on the board of MD Anderson, the hospital where Addison received his treatment and acts as a spokesperson for patients and their families. She also speaks at different conferences and appeals to local lawmakers, never wavering in the telling of her sons story and the importance of continued funding for children's cancer research.
When Addison was diagnosed, Val was surrounded by support. She knows that some are not as fortunate as her and wants to provide them with all the help they need. Therefore, along with her commitment to advocacy, Val also counsels families who are in the early stages of diagnosis. She offers them advice and lets them know what the next few years of their life will look like.
Val is a member of the "cancer mom club," a club that she never wanted to be a part of. Her goal is to keep other moms from having to join.
Join Val and learn how you can become an advocate in your community by clicking here.
Christine BorkEmail Christine(240) 235-2208