Young Dallas survivor helps pass childhood cancer bill

A North Texas girl who battled cancer is teaching members of Congress about how to fight for what you believe in. She has teamed up for a second time with a powerful Texas congressman.

Sadie Keller’s cancer diagnosis – leukemia – came when she was just 7 years old and in the second grade.

“Hearing the words cancer whenever I was that young just was really scary,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot of hard stuff.”

Despite her own sickness, Sadie began collecting toys for other young cancer patients who were stuck in the hospital at important times like Christmas. Her gift delivery became known as Sadie’s Sleigh.

“I just want to help all of them and it’s just really nice to like see them be happy,” she said.

Now the 10-year-old Dallas resident is teaming up with Congressman Mike McCaul to not only make them happy but also healthy again.

“When I first met Sadie, she was in remission at the time,” Rep. McCaul said.

That was in 2015. Sadie lobbied Congress with Rep. McCaul to pass a bill that would allow the best adult treatments for cancer to be studied for use in children.

“It’s the advocates like Sadie that really get members of Congress. They can say no to me but they can’t say no to her,” he said.

The two are back at it on Capitol Hill again this year trying to get lawmakers to pass the Childhood Cancer STAR Act. STAR stands for Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research.

The legislation authorizes $30 million annually from 2019 to 2023 for programs and research related directly to childhood cancer.

“It’s probably the most comprehensive childhood cancer bill passed by the Congress. It’s gonna move things forward in terms of funding, in terms of research that we can do and in terms of doctors being able to share information,” McCaul said.

The president is expected to sign the bill, which all started with Sadie’s idea for McCaul.

“We're a great team together. You know, to get a bill passed in the Congress it’s not an easy task these days and its bi-partisan. Everybody loves little Sadie,” McCaul said.

She’s happy to be working in big ways to make life better for other kids with cancer.