11 years after her son’s passing, a Knoxville mom continues fight against childhood cancer
A group calling themselves the “46 Momma’s” is in Washington, D.C. this week fighting for their children. Representing the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, they are on a mission to conquer childhood cancers. One Knoxville “Momma” continues on this conquest despite losing one of her own.
“Our family has never been the same,” said Laura Gorney.
Gorney says there is a hole in her home since her son Walker died 11 years ago while undergoing treatment for Ewing’s Sarcoma, an extremely rare cancerous tumor. Her son went into cardiac arrest because of the treatment, passing away at the age of four.
“He was the light of our lives,” said Gorney.
Gorney is in Washington this week trying to make sure no other mother goes through what she has. In addition to a head shaving fundraiser that kicked off the week, the main purpose of trip to Washington is convincing lawmakers on Capitol Hill to help knockout childhood cancer.
Gorney’s sights are set on $30 million for the STAR Act, a bill that easily passed into law last year. It specifically funds childhood cancer research, expands efforts to catch childhood cancer early on, and works to improve the lives of childhood cancer survivors.
“There’s going to be safer treatment options that are going to be implemented,” said Gorney.
Gorney made several office visits on Capitol Hill, including a meeting with the staff of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
In a statement, the senator says, “Supporting federal funding for biomedical research has always been a top priority of mine. Since 2015, the Senate Appropriations Committee I serve on has approved a $9 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health, which is crucial to ensure we can continue to deliver medical breakthroughs that save lives.
“And in 2016, Congress passed legislation I introduced that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the ‘most important legislation of the year,' and the president signed into law -- the 21st Century Cures Act, which included $1.8 billion for the ‘Cancer Moonshot’ over 7 years.”
For Gorney, she says her fight will go on, even if her son’s fight came to an end over a decade ago.
“We’ll never be good,” said Gorney. “But we’re OK.”