Three-time cancer survivor and Saugerties resident Zach Swart took action against childhood cancer by traveling to Washington, D.C. to advocate for kids like him at the eighth annual Childhood Cancer Action Days on April 23-24. His visit was coordinated by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer.
As a 2018 ambassador and spokesperson for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research, 16-year-old Zach shared his personal story to advocate for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship Treatment Access and Research (STAR) Act and addressed important funding issues before Congress.
Among the advocates in attendance were St. Baldrick’s Foundation volunteers, supporters and Honored Kids (who have fought cancer). These kids and their families traveled from all areas of the country, spanning all ages, disease types and treatment statuses, a visible reminder that childhood cancer doesn’t discriminate with kids and it doesn’t belong to just one political party.
Swart has battled cancer since age six. He recently took part in his last hope for a cure: a clinical trial from a St. Baldrick’s-funded researcher using his own, reengineered immune cells combined with a bone marrow transplant from a perfectly matched donor, his brother. As of today, his scans show no signs of remaining leukemia, and he’s ready to give back.
The STAR Act, if passed, would be a significant step to enhancing the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors and help kids get access to life-saving treatments. This two-day event in D.C., amplified the voices of kids affected by cancer as they met with members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill.