Benninghoff Seeks to Bring Awareness to Childhood Cancer through House Resolution

BELLEFONTE – State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) knows first-hand about the sadness that accompanies the diagnosis of cancer in a child.  His daughter, Ryleigh, passed away on Dec. 31, 2010, after succumbing to brain cancer.

That personal experience was one factor that led Benninghoff to introduce House Resolution 389 designating the month of September as “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania and spreading awareness about the issue.

Despite his own personal loss, Benninghoff is optimistic about the overall fight to cure cancer.

“There are so many good doctors and researchers working to find a cure that we have to hope it is only a matter of time,” Benninghoff said.  “Until that day comes and we find a cure, the best weapon we have to combat cancer is awareness.”

Benninghoff maintains his optimism despite some harrowing statistics in his resolution.  For example, it notes that childhood cancer is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 15.  It further notes the American Cancer Society estimates that more than 11,000 children are likely to be diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2013.

Benninghoff’s resolution also points to the progress being made as a sign of hope for children diagnosed with the disease.  Due to advances in treatment in recent decades, more than 80 percent of children with cancer now survive five years of more, compared to only a 60 percent five-year survival rate in the mid-1970s.

“This resolution is for all the mothers who have to read a book in a hospital bed to their child suffering from cancer,” Benninghoff said.  “It’s for the fathers who have to watch their child undergo chemotherapy.  It’s for the children diagnosed with cancer, who are some of the bravest souls I have ever met.  And this resolution is for the doctors, nurses and researchers who are on the front lines of the daily battle to save children’s lives.”

The House unanimously approved Benninghoff’s resolution on June 25.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, Benninghoff will be joined by representatives from Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute for a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda at 9:30 a.m.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Dan Massing
717.772.9845 /
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