Henry's Blog

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Open Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

We join with millions of people across the world in congratulating your resounding election victory and today's swearing in.

Amid your enormous challenges and conflicting priorities, we ask one moment of your time.

The young boy pictured above is our son Henry. He is watching you give your acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last August.

He is wearing a hat that was a birthday gift presented to him by one of your campaign workers. It has a special message written on it and bears your signature. It says:

To Henry:
Dream Big Dreams
Barack Obama

Henry did indeed have big dreams. As a twelve-year old, he saw his life as full of adventure and potential. He wanted to join his middle school baseball team. He wanted to visit Japan. He wanted to design video games.

He wanted to grow up.

Henry cared nothing about politics, but he could not help but get excited by your message of change, of inclusion, of making things better than they are. Henry's hope was already audacious, but listening to you gave him the confidence to envision even greater possibilities.

But, like your beloved grandmother, Henry did not live to see you elected. Like her, and your mother, Henry was taken down by cancer.

President Bush's budget cut $40 million from the National Cancer Institute in 2007.

The budget of the National Institutes of Health has been flat for five years and, adjusted for inflation, that means that it has declined by $500 million since 2003.

Scientists had to postpone or delay up to 100 of the phase two and phase three trials that are important to establishing new therapies, and the number of patients that were able to participate in clinical trials in the US has declined by 3,000.

The Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s pre-eminent childhood cancer research organization, has been forced to put 20 new studies on hold and decrease enrollment in new clinical trials by more than 400 children.

Estimates are as high as one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer. President Obama, you now have the largest megaphone in the world. Use it, we beg you. As someone personally touched by this scourge, unite the country in a commitment to innovative, aggressive cancer research. Hope carries you only so far. Let us have the audacity to demand a cure.

Most respectfully,

Terry and Cynthia Cermak

cc: Change.gov


Anonymous Wendy said...

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you each and everyday. God bless Henry for showing us so much joy, kindness, and laughter. He is truly missed!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Henry did dream big dreams.. and we dreamed big dreams for him as well. I think of you all daily as I drive by Spring Lake. Benjamin and I talk of Henry so often... Terry and Cynthia, please let us know if we can do anything for you...
Fran Atkinson

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this letter to the President doesn't get everyone involved in making that change... I don't know what will! jc

7:28 PM  

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