February 19, 2013

We applaud Robert McCartney [“Promising science work at risk,” Metro, Feb. 14] for highlighting the impact of sequestration on life-saving research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2010, we lost our only child to a devastating pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma. Evan was 7 years old when he died. He waged a four-year battle that defined courage.

Indiscriminately cutting medical research at a time of such great scientific promise is not only shortsighted but also immoral. This is particularly true for pediatric cancer, which remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States.

Hope for pediatric cancer patients lies almost exclusively in research sponsored by the NIH’s National Cancer Institute, which dedicates only 4 percent of its annual budget to the nation’s leading killer of kids. Further reducing this inadequate investment through sequestration would have an immediate and devastating impact on vulnerable children.

Congress and the president need to demonstrate the kind of courage our son did and make the difficult decisions necessary to address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. Cutting childhood cancer research is not one of them.

Wendy and Gavin Lindberg, Germantown

The writers are founders of the EVAN Foundation.